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milwaukee owi lawyerBeing arrested for drunk driving can cause a number of difficulties in a person’s life. A conviction for charges of operating while intoxicated (OWI) can result in a number of penalties, including large fines and potential jail time. However, one other issue that can play a significant role in these cases is the loss of driving privileges. An OWI conviction will typically result in a driver’s license suspension, and in some cases, after a person regains their driving privileges, they may be required to use an ignition interlock device (IID) on any vehicles they drive.

An IID is a breathalyzer device that is installed in a vehicle. A driver will be required to provide a breath sample before driving, and the vehicle will not start if their blood alcohol content (BAC)  is above .02 percent. Depending on the circumstances of an OWI charge, an IID may be required, or a person may obtain an occupational driver’s license that will allow them to drive with an IID during a period of suspension.

When Is an IID Mandatory?

Wisconsin law states that a person will be required to use an IID if they refused to take a chemical blood alcohol test after being arrested on suspicion of OWI, if they are convicted of OWI for a second or subsequent time, or if they had a BAC of .15 percent or more.

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Milwaukee criminal defense law firmMilwaukee, WI multiple OWI attorneyBy Attorney Cameron Weitzner and Paralegal Rachel Sweet

Operating while intoxicated (OWI) is a serious criminal offense, regardless of whether you have a prior history of convictions. Consequences of an OWI conviction include fines, driver’s license revocation, and a lasting criminal record, even for first-time offenders. However, the consequences can become much more severe if you are facing OWI charges a second, third, or subsequent time. If you are arrested for OWI with a previous conviction on your record, it is crucial that you hire an attorney who can help you avoid the full extent of the penalties you may face.

Second OWI Offense Penalties Depend on the Timeframe

In Wisconsin, if your second alleged OWI offense comes more than 10 years after your first conviction, the potential penalties will likely be the same as if you had no prior conviction. Namely, you may face a fine of up to $300, a $435 OWI surcharge, and revocation of your driver’s license for up to nine months, but you are unlikely to be sentenced to any period of confinement or imprisonment. However, if the second offense comes within 10 years of the first, the possible penalties become more substantial. Fines can increase to up to $1,100, the license revocation period can increase to up to 18 months, and the sentence can include up to six months in prison.

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Milwaukee OWI injury attorneyBy Attorney Cameron Weitzner

In Wisconsin, drunk driving injures 3,000 people and claims the lives of 150 people every year. It is no surprise that Wisconsin law treats operating while intoxicated (OWI) as a serious criminal offense, regardless of whether it results in any injuries. However, if you are arrested on charges of injury by intoxicated use of a vehicle, the penalties can be especially severe, and it is important that you have an attorney who can help you protect your rights.

Possible Charges for Causing Injury While OWI in Wisconsin

Wisconsin courts typically show leniency to those who are convicted of OWI for the first time, with offenders often facing a relatively small fine and a shorter driver’s license revocation period, and avoiding jail time entirely. However, a first offender who causes even a minor injury to another person is much less likely to be granted this leniency. In these cases, possible penalties include fines between $300 and $2,000, jail time of 30 days to one year, and a revoked license for at least a year beyond the end of the imprisonment sentence. There is a steep increase in penalties for someone who causes injury while OWI with any previous OWI conviction on their record. This is considered a Class H felony, with fines up to $10,000 and imprisonment of up to six years.

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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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