Adams Law Group, llc

OWI 1st penalties in Wisconsin

Traditionally, Wisconsin has had less-stringent penalties for drunk driving offenses.  However, in the last five years the state has toughened these laws.  Still, Wisconsin only imposes fines, not jail time, on most Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) 1st offenses.  However, these 1st offenses still carry a stiff fine, embarrassment, costly demerit points, and the social stigma of conviction.  Furthermore, because they are often unchallenged, investigations of 1st offenses can often be lax and underperformed by the police.  Making sure you have a competent and thorough criminal defense attorney to review your case will ensure you are treated fairly throughout the process.  Most importantly, a good attorney may be able to spot legal and factual issues involved in the police’s investigation that could lead to the dismissal or reduction of your charge.

For an OWI 1st offense, where the driver’s alcohol content is less than 0.15, the penalty is a $150-$300 fine plus a $365 OWI surcharge.  No jail time may be imposed.

An OWI 1st conviction will also result in a 6 to 9 month revocation of your driver’s license.   The good news is you can immediately apply for your “occupational license.”  An occupation license will allow you to drive to do life’s essential things: get to work, school, childcare, church, etc.

However, for an OWI 1st conviction where the driver’s alcohol content was found to be over 0.15, the driver is required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in every vehicle owned or registered to the driver.  Also, if there was a child in the car at the time of the arrest, the driver faces mandatory jail time.

If you’ve been arrested for an OWI 1st offense, don’t passively sit back and pay your fine.  Give me or another qualified criminal defense attorney a call.  I will consult with you about your case free of charge before you decide whether to retain me or another attorney.

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