Fourth OWI Offense
On April 25, 2016, Governor Walker signed a bill that made all fourth OWI offenses felonies. Prior to that date, a fourth offense OWI was only a felony if committed within five years of his or her most recent alcohol-related driving incident.
If you are arrested for OWI occurring on or after January 1, 2017 you face a sentence ranging from 6 months’ jail to 6 years’ imprisonment. If you had a minor in the vehicle under the age of 16 at the time of the incident, that penalty range is doubled.
Prohibited Alcohol Concentration
Furthermore, people who have received three OWI convictions are subject to a prohibited alcohol concentration of .02 for the rest of their lives in the state of Wisconsin. This applies even if your prior convictions occurred in different states. Therefore, the State has to show that you were operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of only .02 or higher to charge you with Operating with a Prohibited Alcohol Concentration, 4th offense.
If convicted, you will still face a minimum 24 month, maximum 36 month driver’s license revocation; the number of days of imprisonment you are sentenced to will be added to that number. You face a 12- to 36-month IID order and will have to complete the assessment and ordered treatment.
Non-driving-related penalties: Because all fourth offenses are now felonies in Wisconsin, if convicted you will lose your right to vote until you have completed all conditions of your sentence and you will never be able to own or possess a firearm for the rest of your life.
The fines are subject to the same BAC-related doubling/tripling/quadrupling scheme as in third-offense OWI penalties.
Penalties for a Felony 4th OWI in Wisconsin
- Face up to $10,000 in fines. The fines can be doubled, tripled or quadrupled, depending on your alcohol level.
- 6 years maximum prison time, with a maximum period of initial imprisonment of 3 years, and a minimum of 60 days.
- Your license will be revoked for up to 3 years.
- You must have an ignition interlock device installed.
- You can’t apply for a hardship license for 45 days.
- You must have an alcohol assessment.
- 6 demerit points are applied to your license.
- You will be a convicted felon.