First Offense OWI
A first OWI in Wisconsin is a traffic violation—not a criminal violation—but will stay on your record forever and can carry harsh penalties.
Subsequent convictions can carry even harsher penalties, making it crucial to hire the right DUI lawyer if you are facing a first offense.
The OWI/DUI lawyers at Mishlove and Stuckert, LLC can help you avoid jail, keep your license, and avoid high fines and other consequences.
Give Yourself a Fighting Chance
If you are being charged with a DUI/OWI offense, our criminal defense attorneys can fight to protect your rights. As Wisconsin’s only true NCDD-American Bar Association accredited DUI defense specialists, we have the training and expertise to represent the toughest DUI cases.
Criminal defense attorneys Andrew Mishlove and Lauren Stuckert have helped many clients get their DUI charges reduced or dismissed following serious offenses, and they have earned recognition from various trusted organizations, including:
- Better Business Bureau
If you've been charged with your first OWI, don't risk a conviction. Get professional legal help. We offer free consultations and our phones are answered 24/7/365.
What are the potential repercussions
of a first offense OWI?
If Convicted of Drunk Driving, You May Face:
License RevocationDrivers license revocation can range from six to nine months. Unless there is a refusal violation associated with your DUI case, you should be able to obtain an occupational license that will allow you to drive to and from work within set time periods.
Ignition Interlock DeviceIf you submitted to a chemical test of your breath or blood and your blood alcohol content (BAC) came back 0.15 or higher, you face a one-year ignition interlock device (IID) order. An IID order will require you to install an IID in every vehicle registered or titled to you.
Treatment & Safety CoursesYou must complete the Alcohol and Other Drug Assessment in the county where you reside, as well as treatment courses or a driver’s safety plan. If you do not live in Wisconsin, you will have to follow through with an equivalent alcohol treatment plan in your home state.
FinesIf you are convicted, you will have to pay a forfeiture ranging from $150 to $300, plus additional court costs. Additional court costs vary throughout the different Wisconsin jurisdictions. A $150.00 fine plus costs, for example, is usually about $811.50.
How Our Defense Attorneys Prepare for Trial
Clients Recommend Us
"I wanted to personally reach out to you. Your team succeeded in what it set out to do for me with the criminal charge DUI. Knowing that all criminal charges are now dropped against me is a great relief to me and my family. I understand that I will still have the 1st offence DUI and that is ok. I have learned my lesson." Name Withheld
OWI/DUI Law in Wisconsin
OWI/DUI laws in Wisconsin are different from those of other states. In Wisconsin, an OWI (which stands for operating while intoxicated) means that during a police stop, you:
- Had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08 percent or higher
- Showed any amount of a restricted controlled substance in your blood tests
- Were intoxicated by drugs or alcohol enough that you could not drive safely
Wisconsin is one of the only states where a first offense is considered a civil, not a criminal, charge. In most other states, a first-time offense is considered a misdemeanor. Although a misdemeanor carries much more serious penalties, a civil charge can still have life-changing repercussions.
Is It Your First Offense? Contact the #1 DUI Law Firm in the State
Many clients mistakenly think that a civil charge for their first Wisconsin OWI/DUI is not a big deal. But being convicted of a first-time OWI carries serious penalties including a loss of driving privileges, which can affect your ability to work and cause trouble for years to come. Even a first offense OWI/DUI charge in Wisconsin remains on a person’s driver’s record for life.
We offer free consultations for clients throughout the state, and we can help you decide what your best course of action is following your OWI/DUI case. To talk to one of our specialists, request your free consultation online or call us:
Don't Risk Your Quality of Life, Call Us Today
Hiring a knowledgeable OWI/DUI lawyer gives you the best chance of having your charges reduced or dismissed and keeping your life as normal as possible. If an officer acted inappropriately during a field sobriety test, or other factors affect the legitimacy of the DUI charges you face, we can identify these weaknesses to protect your freedom.
You May Not Need to Appear in Court For a First-Offense DUI
3 Reasons to Choose Us
over Other DUI Law Firms
ReputationMishlove and Stuckert, LLC is one of America's most respected OWI/DUI law firms. We were recently voted the number one DUI law firm in Wisconsin in the Wisconsin Law Journal Reader Rankings. We are the firm that other lawyers trust when it comes to DUI cases. Andrew Mishlove literally wrote the book that other Wisconsin DUI attorneys use as their text for defending OWI/DUI CASES. He is the creator and Course Director for America’s most advanced course for DUI lawyers in blood testing and trial advocacy. He is the first DUI lawyer in Wisconsin to have achieved the official status of a true OWI/DUI Specialist accredited by the American Bar Association. Lauren Stuckert is Wisconsin's only other true OWI/DUI Specialist, and she is the youngest lawyer in history to achieve that distinction. She is certified in the field tests used by the police in OWI investigation, and she is certified in blood testing. She is also a regular speaker and instructor at DUI attorney conferences all over America.
ReviewsWhen you're searching for a DUI attorney, you need to find a firm with positive reviews from clients. Andrew Mishlove and Lauren Stuckert have earned dozens of 5-star reviews from clients whose lives were disrupted by DUI charges. Some clients have also written heartfelt testimonials thanking us for helping them during some of the darkest times in their lives.
Respect for Our ClientsClients who are being charged with OWI or DUI are often reluctant to seek the help of a DUI attorney because they feel embarrassed or ashamed. At Mishlove and Stuckert, LLC, we understand that you are a positive, accomplished, successful person who might have (or might not have) made a mistake. You have a life history, a family, a job, and a story to tell. We honor your story. We listen to you, and we are not here to judge. We are here to provide honest, open advice and help you get your charges reduced or dismissed. We will respectfully listen to the facts of your case without making you feel uncomfortable.
Why Clients Choose Us When They Face an OWI
"Taking into consideration the embarrassing nature of being charged with a DUI and then not being able to focus on the importance of selecting an attorney to represent you. What an uncomfortable situation! I was referred to Atty Mishlove by a friend who is an attorney in another state. His words were 'why not go with the best? you deserve the best representation possible.'" Cynthia, Whose Case Was Dismissed
We Represent the Toughest Cases
Although most standard first offenses will not be considered criminal cases, other first-time DUIs are. You may face criminal (not civil) charges if you:
- Were driving with a minor in the vehicle
- Caused injury to another party while drunk driving
- Contributed to the death of another party while driving under the influence
Andrew Mishlove and Lauren Stuckert are defense lawyers who have successfully achieved dismissals and reduced charges for clients whose DUI cases involved injuries, drugs, minor passengers, and vehicular homicide. Our firm can provide DUI defense that may involve identifying when an officer acted inappropriately during a field sobriety test, or other faulty police work was at play in your case. Our defense lawyers don't shy away from tough drunk driving cases. Our success stories demonstrate the positive results that we have achieved for clients in tough situations who need advanced DUI defense.
Call Us Today for a Free, No-Obligation Consultation
Whether yours is a more simple or a more complex OWI/DUI case, our DUI attorneys can provide the DUI defense you need. As the only true DUI specialists in Wisconsin, we have represented clients charged in all types of OWI/DUI cases, from first offense with no aggravating factors to OWI/DUI homicides in repeat offender situations. Schedule your free consultation with a defense attorney today by contacting us online or calling us:
How We Win DUI and OWI Cases
Years ago, Andrew Mishlove wrote an article and did a series of videos about the Seven Key Factors in OWI/DUI Defense. We always remember that an OWI/DUI is not just a collection of facts. It is a human drama involving a person with a life history, a family, a job, and hopes and dreams. The best DUI attorneys know how to show that entire drama in court. Here is how we might organize it:
YouEven the most ethical people can be charged with a OWI/DUI. You are not just someone who got a DUI. You are a human being with a life, career, and family. Our DUI attorneys will listen to you and compile the whole story, with the positive details about your life. The goal is to tell a human story that persuades people to see your side of things. You are not just a defendant in a drunk driving case. You are a person.
Your StoryWe want to know what led up to your drunk driving charge. In any OWI case, there is a story to be told. Andrew Mishlove and Lauren Stuckert will listen to the details of your case to build a timeline for the day and get your side of the story when it comes to the events leading up to your arrest, and the arrest itself.
The PolicePolice are involved in every drunk driving case, and they also have stories. Too often those stories are about bias, unfairness, and carelessness. Or it may just be a story of a “hammer that sees everything as a nail.” The police have very strict rules for dealing with OWI cases, but often these rules are broken. Our job is to investigate your story, determine whether any rules were broken, and tell that story as well.
Your DrivingIf you were driving erratically or putting others in danger at the time of your offense, you may have a problem on your hands. Maybe you were just distracted by your cell phone for a moment. You might have been impaired, or maybe you just needed some coffee. Even so, in most cases, our clients were pulled over for simple things like a broken taillight and were not endangering other parties.
Your BehaviorYour behavior, appearance, and demeanor will play an important role in your case, especially now that most cases are videotaped. We review all video recordings (even store surveillance videos) to see how you behaved. Most of our clients look like they are acting normally. If your behavior, appearance, and demeanor seemed normal, we may have a good defense to your case, despite a BAC of 0.08 or higher.
Chemical TestIf you took a breath or blood test, your BAC will be a critical factor in your case. Our DUI attorneys are well-versed in the forensics of OWI cases and we can investigate your tests to determine whether they are legitimate. Whether it is a breath test or a blood test, there are many possible errors that can occur in chemical testing used as evidence of drunk driving.
The LawIn many offenses, legal technical arguments can be used to win your case. If the police lost, destroyed, or tampered with evidence, we can use these details to defend your drunk driving case. In many cases, our clients are accused of having prior offenses, and we are able to have the alleged prior offenses struck from the record. We can investigate all legal issues involved in your case to determine whether anything unlawful took place.
A Client's Success Story
"I’m an Illinois resident that got pulled over just before the border in Wisconsin. Andrew did an excellent job getting my charge reduced (which isn’t easy in Wisconsin) and preventing me from having to go through the nightmare of dealing with the elevated penalties Illinois applies to its drivers when they receive a DUI in Wisconsin. Would highly recommend." Name Withheld & Charges Reduced to Non-DUI Charges
CAN YOU REFUSE A BREATH OR BLOOD TEST
If It's Your First DUI?
In 2016, the legislature gave judges the authority to issue warrants for forced blood draws even in first offense, civil OWI cases. While you cannot be criminally charged for refusing a test, it does carry more severe driver’s license penalties, and the police may take your blood with a warrant anyway.
It is important to note that refusals are often more difficult to fight than OWI/DUI violations. In fact, the penalties for a first offense refusal are actually more severe than those for a first offense OWI or PAC violation.
If this is your first offense OWI and you refused to submit to the chemical breath or blood test after being read the “Informing the Accused” form, law enforcement probably did not do a forced blood draw. You should have received a document titled “NOTICE OF INTENT TO REVOKE.”
You have ten days from the notice date on that document to request a Refusal Hearing before the Court. Failure to request the hearing in the appropriate time period will result in an automatic Refusal conviction and driver’s license revocation.
In 2013, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that courts do not have authority to reopen these cases if a person does not make the request in the ten-day window. If a timely request is not made, you will have no recourse. If you miss the ten-day deadline or if the Court finds the Refusal to be “unreasonable,” you face a one-year revocation of your license.
For the first thirty days of that revocation, you are prohibited from driving at all. After thirty days, you may obtain an occupational license for the remainder of the revocation. You are also subject to the one-year IID requirement and alcohol and other drug assessment. There is no fine or forfeiture penalty for a refusal violation.
"Compassionate, respectful and most of all, effective."
"Andrew and his firm we compassionate, respectful and most of all effective. They were able to take my case and point out all of the unjust and invalid evidence. Gaining me a Dismissed verdict. Well Done!!!" Trish
In Wisconsin, if you have “failed” a breath or a blood test, you may have only 10 days to request a hearing, or you will lose your license. You may still be eligible for an occupational license, but this restricts you to driving to and from work at designated times.
After an OWI, time is of the essence. If you submitted to a chemical breath or blood test other than the on-scene hand-held breath test device, you should have received a document titled “NOTICE OF INTENT TO SUSPEND” if your breath or blood test result was 0.08 or higher.
You have 10 days from the notice date to request an administrative hearing with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. These hearings are limited in scope, but they are the only way to attempt to avoid a pre-conviction suspension. They can also play a huge role in your OWI case strategy.
Failing to request a hearing within the first 10 days will result in an automatic six-month suspension of your driving privileges, which begins thirty days from the notice date.
While requesting the hearing may not prevent a suspension, it does give you an opportunity down the road to request that the court stay your suspension—essentially putting it on pause—while the case is pending. If you drive for a living, or if you cannot afford to have any type of driving restriction on your record, it is imperative that we help you handle this hearing.
"Second to none."
"Extremely talented experts in defending those who are charged with crimes. The wealth of knowledge and expertise they bring in helping defendants is second to none!" Frank L.
What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?
More Information about Ignition Interlock Devices
In a first offense case with a test result of .15 and above (and in all other cases), if you receive an OWI conviction, you will have a two-part IID restriction.
First, you may be required to put an IID on every vehicle that you own, even if you do not drive it. Second, you will be forbidden from driving any vehicle not equipped with an IID. This includes rental cars, company vehicles, etc. There are no exceptions. Our firm has had great success fighting breath and blood tests to relieve defendants of this penalty.
Judges have the authority to exempt certain vehicles from this order (such as a car being solely driven by one’s spouse, or a vehicle that is in storage or in a non-drivable condition), but, if granted, you may not drive the exempted vehicle(s) while the IID order is in effect. A violation of an IID order may result in additional criminal charges being brought against you.