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Increased Penalties for Repeat Drunk Driving

 Posted on January 17, 2017 in DUI / OWI

wisconsin owi penalties, milwaukee criminal defense lawyerA new law enacted by the Wisconsin Legislature and signed by Governor Walker in April 2016, became effective on January 1, 2017, sharply increases penalties on repeat drunk driving cases

2015 Wisconsin Act 371 makes a fourth drunk driving offense a felony for all purposes, regardless of when the previous OWI convictions occurred.  Under previous law, a fourth offense OWI would constitute a felony only if it was committed within five (5) years of a third offense drunk driving conviction.  Otherwise, it remained a misdemeanor. Act 371 eliminates this distinction.

A fourth offense OWI conviction is a Class H felony, carrying a maximum potential sentence of six (6) years in prison, a mandatory minimum period of incarceration and fines up to $10,000.

Act 371 also increases the maximum prison sentences for fifth and sixth drunk driving offenses from Class H to Class G felonies, which carry longer potential prison terms and mandatory minimums.   Convictions for seventh, eighth and ninth offense drunk driving are now Class F felonies.  A tenth or subsequent drunk driving offense is now a Class E felony.  

Since the end of 1999, Wisconsin no longer has parole or good time on felony prison sentences, so these substantial penalty increases mean that more drivers will go to prison for significantly longer periods of time. 

Contact an Experienced Wisconsin Drunk Driving Defense Lawyer

Being arrested for a repeat drunk driving offense in Wisconsin is serious business that can have drastic, life-changing consequences.  If you are facing OWI charges, whether a first-time offense or a repeat offense, you should retain a skilled OWI attorney.

Our Milwaukee OWI attorneys can advise you of your options and vigorously advocate for you in court. Call Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP at 414-271-1440 and schedule an initial consultation.


Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Dec. 28, 2016



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