Wisconsin OWI/ DUI Laws

By Reddin & Singer

Wine

Every year, a number of people are arrested for driving with a blood alcohol limit that is above the legal limit throughout Wisconsin and the United States. However, a person arrested for drunk driving in the state of Wisconsin will be charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) rather than a charge of driving under the influence (DUI). While the terminology can vary, the basic principle is the same. Dealing with an OWI can be expensive, time-consuming, and frustrating.

It is not a crime to drink and drive in Wisconsin unless your blood alcohol level exceeds the legal limit. The blood alcohol limit in Wisconsin is a 0.08 blood alcohol content for those over the age of 21 years old. For those younger than 21 years of age, any trace of alcohol in your system means you are legally intoxicated. For commercial drivers, the blood alcohol limit is 0.04.

The penalties can vary for an OWI charge depending on what number of offense it is. For example, someone charged with a first offense will face a lighter penalty than, for example, someone charged with a third offense. Under Wisconsin law, the specific consequences for adults charged with OWIs are as follows:

  • 1st Offense: carries a fine of $150-300; a surcharge of $365; driver’s license suspension/revocation for 6-9 months; a mandatory alcohol assessment; no jail time unless there is a passenger in the vehicle who is under 16 years of age; and possible ignition interlock device.

  • 2nd Offense: carries a fine of $350-$1,100; a surcharge of $365; driver’s license suspension/revocation for 12-18 months; a mandatory alcohol assessment; jail time of anywhere between five days and six months; and mandatory ignition interlock device.

  • 3rd Offense: carries a fine of $600-$2,000; a surcharge of $365; driver’s license suspension/revocation for 2-3 years; a mandatory alcohol assessment; jail time of anywhere between 45 days to one year; and mandatory ignition interlock device.

  • 4th Offense when there has been none within the prior 5 years: carries a fine of $600-$2,000; a surcharge of $365; driver’s license suspension/revocation for 2-3 years; a mandatory alcohol assessment; jail time of anywhere between 60 days to one year; and mandatory ignition interlock device.

  • 4th Offense when one or more of the prior offenses was within 5 years: carries a fine of $600-$10,000; a surcharge of $365; driver’s license suspension/revocation for 2-3 years; a mandatory alcohol assessment; jail time of anywhere between six months to six years; and mandatory ignition interlock device.

  • 5th Offense or 6th Offense: carries a fine of $600-$10,000; a surcharge of $365; driver’s license suspension/revocation for 2-3 years; a mandatory alcohol assessment; jail time of anywhere between six months and six years; and mandatory ignition interlock device.

  • 7th, 8th or 9th Offense: 10 years or $25,000 fine, with mandatory minimum of 3 years in custody.

If you under the age of 21 and are caught with any calculable amount of alcohol in your system, you will be subject to a $200 fine, a minimum three-month license suspension, and four demerit points on your driving record.

If you need the services of an experienced and trustworthy Milwaukee criminal defense attorney, you should contact the law offices of Reddin & Singer. Whether you are charged with a first DUI or are facing charges for a repeat, we can help. We understand the nuances of various types of criminal defense law and will provide you with dependable legal representation. If you are unsure about your next steps, you will be glad to know we offer free, no-obligation consultations to each prospective client. Please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at (414) 271-6400.