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Consequences of a Drunk Driving Conviction in Wisconsin

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyer, DUIOperating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can have some very serious consequences. Drunk driving charges not only have the potential to lead to a criminal record and incarceration, but they can also impact a future job, your family, reputation, driver’s license, and even your bank account.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Wisconsin has the highest rate drunk driving across the nation. In 2012 alone, there were over 33,000 drunk driving convictions. Alcohol-related crashes injured approximately 3,000 individuals and killed another 223. Of all fatal traffic accidents that occurred within the state of Wisconsin during 2012, approximately 36 percent involved alcohol.

As you can see, law enforcement agencies across the state of Wisconsin have been aggressively cracking down on drunk driving. If you are charged with an OWI, you should consult an experienced OWI defense attorney who will significantly increase your chances of avoiding or mitigating the penalties associated with an OWI conviction.

Elements of an OWI Charge in Wisconsin

Under Wisconsin law, it is illegal for any driver under the age of 21 to have any amount of alcohol in their system while operating a motor vehicle. Likewise, it is illegal for a driver over the age of 21 to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence. Under the influence generally means that the driver’s ability to operate the motor vehicle is impaired. This impairment is found in certain situations when the driver:
  • Has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher;
  • Is under the influence of an intoxicant;
  • Has a detectable amount of a restricted controlled substance in their blood; or
  • Is under the influence of any other drug or controlled substance.

Basically, if there is enough alcohol or drugs in your blood that are found to render you incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle, you could be charged with an OWI.

Penalties that Accompany OWI Charges

The punishments for drunk driving in Wisconsin are more lenient than most states, but they are still very serious. A first offense will carry a small fine up to $300 and no jail time, while a fifth offense can carry a $10,000 fine and up to six years in jail. Likewise, your driver’s license can be suspended for up to nine months on a first offense, and up to three years on your third offense.

Depending on what offense you are facing, you might be required to use an ignition interlock device that will require you to blow air into it to test your BAC prior to your motor vehicle starting. Furthermore, if you refuse to submit to a chemical test during a traffic stop, your license will automatically be suspended for one year on your first offense and up to two or three years depending on your whether your second or third offense occurred within 10 years of the first offense.

If you are charged with an OWI, not only will you face heavy fines, loss of your driver’s license, and possible jail time, but you could also lose your car insurance and your job, and you will face many other negative consequences that will make it harder for you to succeed in life.

Regardless if you failed a sobriety test, tested over the legal limit on the breathalyzer, or even refused to submit to a chemical test, you will have increased odds of avoiding a conviction or severe consequences if you consult an experienced Milwaukee criminal defense attorney. Reach out to our office today.
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