Second OWI/DUI Penalties in Wisconsin

A Wisconsin second OWI/DUI offense is not just a ticket. This is a serious criminal charge that carries significant penalties, including jail time and loss of driving privileges.

If you are facing a second offense OWI/DUI in Wisconsin, you need a knowledgeable DUI attorney who has the experience and skill to work to reduce or dismiss your charges.

Mishlove and Stuckert, Attorneys at Law has been voted the top DUI law firm in Wisconsin. If you have been accused of a second offense OWI/DUI, we can help you secure the best possible outcome. Book a free consultation today.

Second OWI Offenses Explained

There is mandatory jail time for second-time OWI convictions. Most of these sentences come with Huber Work Release privileges—depending on the county in which you are convicted, if you are employed, you may be able to attend work throughout your sentence. You will also be subject to license revocation and the installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, among other penalties.

Second Offense OWI/DUI
Penalties in Wisconsin

Unlike a civil first offense Wisconsin OWI/DUI,  a second offense is a criminal misdemeanor. A second OWI/DUI is any offense that occurs within 10 years of a previous conviction. For a second offense OWI/DUI in Wisconsin, there are mandatory penalties:
Man's hands on jail cell bars

Jail Time


A judge must impose a minimum of five days to a maximum of six months in jail for a second OWI offense.

Policeman administering breathalyzer to driver

License Revocation

12 to 18 Months

A judge must impose a minimum of 12 months to a maximum of 18 months of driver’s license revocation, plus the length of the jail sentence. There is a minimum CDL disqualification of one year, and if there is a prior offense after September 2005, the CDL disqualification is for life.

parked cars

Occupational License

After 45 Days

An occupational license allows limited driving privileges for the purposes of work and other necessities of life. You can use your occupational license to drive to work, school, and errands. You can also drive to your place of worship, medical appointments, and your Driver Safety Plan course. However, you cannot use an occupational license to drive for recreational purposes or to operate a commercial motor vehicle. Further, you will be limited to 12 hours of driving time per day and 60 hours of driving time per week.

a man starting a car

Ignition Interlock Device (IID)


An ignition interlock device (IID) is a small breathalyzer device that can be installed in a vehicle. The driver must blow into the ignition interlock device for a blood alcohol reading upon entering the vehicle. If the device returns a reading of .02 or higher, the driver will not be able to start the vehicle. IIDs are mandatory on all vehicles owned and all vehicles driven.

man taking a breathalyzer

Alcohol Assessment and Treatment


This is a meeting with a government or approved private social worker. They will assess your alcohol or drug treatment needs and develop something called a Driver Safety Plan. The Driver Safety Plan may include additional driver safety classes, or it may be intensive alcohol or drug abuse treatment. You are required to complete the Driver Safety Plan in order to reinstate your driver’s license.

money with a gavel

Fines and Costs

Up to $1,100

If you are convicted of a second OWI/DUI in Wisconsin, you face a minimum fine of $350.00 up to a maximum of $1,100.00 plus costs. These fines can put a strain on your budget, especially because of the costs of jail work release or time off from work. You are, however, entitled to a payment plan that is reasonable.

a woman taking a mouth swab for a DNA test

DNA Sample

Mandatory for Criminal Charges

Following any criminal OWI/DUI arrest, you may be subjected to a DNA sample collection. Police use DNA samples, like high-tech fingerprints, to investigate other crimes. They are stored in a permanent government database. While this is not an issue for many people, many people do consider the mandatory DNA sample to compromise their privacy. 

Are You Facing a Second DUI Offense? Call the Top-Rated OWI/DWI Lawyers

Andrew Mishlove and Lauren Stuckert have been voted the best DUI lawyers in Wisconsin and our firm is nationally recognized among the best DUI defense firms in the country. Because a second OWI conviction carries much more serious consequences than a first offense, you need the best possible representation on your side. Our attorneys are the only true DUI defense specialists in the state. They have received recognition from organizations such as: 

  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • Better Business Bureau
  • SuperLawyers
  • Avvo

We offer free initial consultations, and our phones are answered 24/7/365. To talk to a lawyer about your second offense DUI, send us a message or call us:

Andrew Mishlove and Lauren Stuckert
Andrew Mishlove and Lauren Stuckert

Controlled Substances Can Result in an OWI Charge

Operating under the influence of a controlled substance and operating under the influence of a restricted controlled substance are separate OWI charges that carry harsh penalties. It's possible to be charged even if the substance in question was a legal prescription. The attorneys at Mishlove and Stuckert, LLC are Wisconsin's best of the best when it comes to OWI defense—put them in your corner today.

5-Star OWI/DUI Defense


Anthony Dell'Aquila

Milwaukee, WI


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I hired Lauren Stuckert in early 2018 for a case that ultimately dragged on for five years due to a variety of factors including Covid. Lauren was reassuring and professional every step of the way. It was clear that she placed a high priority on getting my case resolved. When my case was finally called to trial, I can’t express how impressed I was. Without going into details, she knew when to ask what questions and when to raise what issues. She was a shark when she needed to be while always remaining composed. If you’re searching for an attorney for an OWI case, stop looking. Lauren will fight for you every step of the way and you will get the best possible outcome. I know I certainly did.

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Milwaukee, WI


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I highly recommend Mishlove & Stuckert. I was charged with an OWI in 2019 and due to a backup in the court system, just had my day in court a couple of weeks ago. During the time leading up to my trial, Andrew Mishlove proved to be a fantastic advocate and really seeked to understand the incident and the story behind it. With Andrew's assistance, I was found not guilty. I'm elated that Andrew could be my advocate through the justice process. He is a great choice for anyone in similar circumstances to me - I highly recommend Mishlove & Stuckert.

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Understanding Your OWI Charges Why Did I Get Two Drunk Driving Tickets?

OWI stands for "operating while intoxicated." It is the term used in Wisconsin for drunk driving. Many other states use a similar term, DUI (which is why we use the term OWI/DUI).  These charges are very common. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, nearly 23,000 people were convicted of OWI offenses in our state in 2022 alone.

OWI (or DUI) is one of two types of drunk driving offenses. In some states, it is called the “common-law” offense. In an OWI case, the prosecutor must prove that because of the consumption of alcohol or drugs, you were unable to safely operate the vehicle. OWI does not require proof of a particular alcohol level, although it may be proved by an alcohol level over the legal limit, which is usually .08.

In Wisconsin, there is another type of drunk driving offense called “prohibited alcohol concentration,” or PAC. In many states, it is called “BAC” or the “per se” charge.  In a PAC case, the prosecutor must prove that you were operating a motor vehicle (on a public roadway) with an alcohol level that was over the legal limit. PAC does not require proof of any impairment.

It is important to know that although the OWI and the PAC are two separate charges, you cannot be punished for both. Even if you are convicted for both, it only counts as one conviction, and you can only be punished for one case. We often say that it is really two different ways of accusing you of one thing.

How Are These Charges Determined?

OWI/DUI laws vary from state to state.  In Wisconsin, OWI and PAC may be based on several things:

  • Being unable to safely operate the vehicle because of the consumption of alcohol, even if you are not above the legal alcohol limit (some people may be impaired even though they are below the limit).
  • Having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08 percent or higher.
  • Having a detectable amount of a restricted controlled substance in your blood.  Restricted controlled substances include marijuana (delta-9 THC), cocaine, and heroin.
  • Because of the consumption of medication or a combination of medication and alcohol, being unable to safely operate the vehicle.

Mishlove and Stuckert, LLC is Wisconsin’s leading law firm in OWI/DUI defense. We have the knowledge, skill, and experience to determine whether you were lawfully charged with an OWI/DUI.

man submitting to breathalyzer test

Ensure the Best Possible Outcome & Contact the #1 OWI/DUI Team in Wisconsin

Unlike a first offense, your second OWI/DUI will carry much more serious penalties because it is considered a criminal misdemeanor. Hiring the OWI defense attorneys at Mishlove and Stuckert, LLC gives you the best chance to win your case, avoid jail time, and protect your bright future.

Our attorneys know how to defend the toughest cases. We are the experts in fighting the most serious cases so that you can continue living your life as normally as possible. To talk to us about your OWI case, request your free consultation online or call us:

(414) 332-3499

Why Hire Mishlove and Stuckert, LLC for Help With a Second OWI/DUI?


Knowledge of DUI Law

Andrew Mishlove is the author of "Wisconsin OWI Defense"—the textbook that Wisconsin attorneys use for drunk driving defense. He literally wrote the book on OWI/DUI in Wisconsin. He and Lauren Stuckert are Wisconsin's only true NCDD-American Bar Association accredited DUI defense specialists.


Deep Expertise

Located in Wisconsin, we are one of America's most respected OWI/DUI law firms. Our expertise in OWI law allows us to take on the toughest cases, including injury cases, drug cases, cases involving minor passengers, and vehicular homicides.  


Track Record of Success

Mishlove and Stuckert, LLC been one of Wisconsin’s leading DUI law firms since 1981. No law firm in Wisconsin has more credentials, more experience, and a greater history of success in defending clients who have been convicted or accused of a second OWI/DUI. 

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Great Reputation

Andrew Mishlove and Lauren Stuckert are regularly asked to travel the country to speak and teach lawyers how to defend drunk driving cases. Lawyers come from all over America and even other countries to attend Andrew Mishlove’s courses on blood testing and trial advocacy.  

"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." Former Mishlove and Stuckert Client

What Happens During Sentencing For a Second Conviction OWI/DUI?

The sentencing hearing may take place on the day of conviction or at a later date. At a sentencing hearing, the prosecution first makes a recommendation to the judge. If there are any victims, such as an accident victim, they will be allowed to speak. Sometimes, there is a government probation agent report called a “presentence investigation” that will be discussed. In other cases, the defense will have a privately obtained presentence investigation. 

This sentencing hearing is your OWI defense lawyer's opportunity to present your side of the story.

Your Lawyer Speaks

lawyer addressing the court

Your lawyer's chance to present your story is a critical phase of the proceedings. While some attorneys consider this a time to merely list the factors that justify a lenient sentence, our attorneys consider it the time to show the court who you are as a complete person. We talk about your family, your job, your hobbies, your hopes, and your dreams.  When it's appropriate, we talk about your addiction and your recovery. Judges are always concerned about the future; they want to know why they can trust you, and they are worried that if you do it again, you will hurt someone. By telling your story, we establish a basis for the court to believe you.

You Speak

man in sentencing speaking to judge

The next stage is your chance to speak to the court. All persons who are being sentenced have what is called the right of “allocution.” That means that you get to speak directly to the judge. This, too, is a critical phase, and at Mishlove and Stuckert, LLC, we know how to get you prepared for that moment. The final stage of sentencing is when the judge pronounces the sentence. It is important to also be mentally prepared for that. When your DUI/OWI lawyer has the skill, experience, and commitment to defend you properly, the sentencing hearing is far more likely to be a step on the path to a better future.

Factors That Affect Sentencing

All Wisconsin counties have OWI/DUI sentencing guidelines. These guidelines give the judge a non-binding recommended sentence for every OWI/DUI case, based on a list of factors. The factors are often listed as either aggravated or mitigated, and cases are also often listed as aggravated or mitigated.

The primary factor in all the sentencing guidelines is the alcohol level. Other factors include the level of danger of the driving, the cooperation with the police, the extent of alcohol or substance abuse treatment.

It’s important to remember that the sentencing guidelines are not mandatory, and that you are not just a list of factors. You are a person. At Mishlove and Stuckert, LLC, we have more than 50 years of experience in presenting you to the court as a person and achieving the best possible results. We win many cases, but not all cases can be won. We are the experts in ensuring the fairest possible sentence. 

“Andrew Mishlove could be the best DWI lawyer in Wisconsin. His expertise was crucial to getting my case dismissed. His knowledge of DWI Law is a step above any attorney that your friend, co-worker, or relative may refer you. I can not express in words how much Andrew has helped me & family through. Thank you, Andrew!” Mitch, Former Client
Andrew Mishlove and Lauren Stuckert

Mishlove and Stuckert, LLC Attorneys at Law

Mishlove & Stuckert, LLC Attorneys at Law has been rated the #1 OWI/DUI law firm in the state by Wisconsin Law Journal Reader Rankings. Our OWI/DUI specialists have been highly rated by organizations including: 

  • Avvo™
  • Super Lawyers
  • Martindale-Hubbell 
  • Better Business Bureau 

To speak with one of our board-certified OWI/DUI defense specialists, request a consultation online or call us at (414) 332-3499.

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"Mr. Mishlove was worth every penny and then some. I would consider him the Michelangelo of the DUI defense world.
He is professional, dedicated, and pours his heart into his job. I would give him 10 stars if I could."
Ronald S.

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