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Milwaukee, WI 53202
Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP

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Milwaukee, WI criminal defense lawyer for first time OWI chargesIn Wisconsin, drunk driving is a factor in almost 3,000 injuries and 170 fatalities each year, and operating while intoxicated (OWI) is a criminal offense that can often result in serious consequences. If you are arrested under suspicion of driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol and have no prior record, you may be fortunate to avoid some of the more severe criminal penalties that apply for repeat offenders. Under certain circumstances, however, you may face the possibility of a criminal conviction, which can result in jail time, probation, and substantial fines that well exceed those typically associated with a first-time drunk driving offense.

Aggravating Factors in a First-Time OWI Arrest

In most cases, a first conviction for an OWI offense in Wisconsin results in a fine between $150 and $300, plus costs, and the revocation of the offender’s driver’s license for six to nine months. However, several additional factors can result in greater penalties, including:

  • Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above 0.15 or refusing to submit to a chemical test of your breath, blood, or urine. If you are found guilty of a first-time OWI  with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 or greater, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for up to a year, which carries with it its own expense. If you are convicted of a refusal to submit to testing, your driver’s license revocation will be one year, and your eligibility for an occupational license will be delayed.
  • Driving with a minor under the age of 16 in the vehicle. Having a minor passenger in your car will make what would be a municipal forfeiture a criminal misdemeanor, with increased fines of up to $1,100, an increased revocation period of up to 18 months, and up to six months in jail.
  • Causing injury while driving drunk. If it is your first OWI offense, and your operation result in pain or other injuries to another person, you will face fines up to $2,000, revocation of your license for up to two years, and up to one year of incarceration. These penalties may be even higher if you had a passenger under the age of 16 in your vehicle.
  • Causing great bodily harm while intoxicated. If drunk driving results in another person having a substantial injury that, for example, can lead to permanent disability or disfigurement, you may be charged with a Class F felony, which carries severe penalties, including up to 12.5 years in prison.
  • Homicide while driving intoxicated. The most serious drunk driving offense, causing an accident resulting in another person’s death, can result in Class D felony charges with up to $100,000 in fines, up to 25 years in prison, and a revoked license for five years or more.

No matter what type of intoxicated driving offense you are facing, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can provide quality legal representation.

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Milwaukee, WI underage DUI defense attorneyAccording to the Center for Disease Control, alcohol contributes to the deaths of over 4,000 people below the age of 21 every year, with more than 1,500 of those involving car accidents. To promote the safety of young people, Wisconsin law specifies the consequences for a variety of underage drinking offenses, including driving and drinking. If you have been arrested for underage DUI, you need an attorney who can help you understand your rights and ensure that you are treated fairly.

Penalties Under Wisconsin’s “Not a Drop” Law

Underage drivers are subject to more stringent restrictions than drivers over the age of 21 because of Wisconsin’s absolute sobriety, or “Not a Drop,” policy. If you are underage, you may be arrested if you are found to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.00 to 0.08, a range that is within the legal limit for drivers of a legal drinking age.

Certain circumstances have the potential to increase your penalties. For example, if you are arrested under the absolute sobriety law when another person under the age of 16 is in your car, your license can be suspended for up to six months. If you refuse a BAC test, or if your BAC is above 0.08, you may face similar penalties to adult drivers. If you injure or kill another person while driving under the influence, you can face the more serious penalties for injury by intoxicated use of a vehicle.

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Milwaukee drunk driving defense attorney for felony OWI chargesBy Attorney Brianna Meyer

Drunk driving is a serious matter in Wisconsin. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, more than 20,000 people are arrested for Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) in Wisconsin every year, and hundreds of these offenders are under the age of 18. If you have ever been arrested or charged with offenses related to drunk driving, you are aware of the stress, expenditures, and consequences that can result. An OWI arrest can be even more serious if it is charged as a felony, and these types of charges may result in long prison sentences, steep fines, and the loss of your driving privileges for multiple years.

Felony OWI Charges

Whether your OWI charge is considered a felony is dependent on two factors:

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Milwaukee, WI OWI defense lawyer

By Attorney Nicole Masnica

Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or even certain prescription medications is a serious offense, and a conviction for such an offense may result in a number of significant consequences. An OWI conviction can carry mandatory fines, time in jail or prison, revocation of your driving privileges, installation of an ignition interlock device, and required addiction counseling.

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By Jason Luczak & Brianna Meyer

Milwaukee drunk driving defense attorneyMilwaukee drunk driving defense attorney

The Wisconsin Assembly passed two bills this summer which, if approved by the state Senate, would impose stiffer penalties on individuals convicted of operating while intoxicated (OWI). The first bill would establish a mandatory minimum prison sentence of at least five years for drivers convicted of an OWI that resulted in a fatality.  A driver facing such a charge under current law faces a considerable prison sentence, although a sentencing court has the discretion to impose jail time, probation or combination of the two. The new bill passed by the Assembly would take away all discretion and individual consideration of each defendant and lump them all together regardless of blood alcohol level, treatment needs and efforts, etc. The second bill would make it obligatory for drivers facing OWI charges, including all first-time offenders, to appear in court. Because a first-time OWI is currently not a criminal offense, the civil rules of procedure allowing an appearance by legal counsel for some court proceedings can occur. 

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