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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, WI drunk driving accident attorneyIn addition to being a criminal offense in Wisconsin, driving under the influence of alcohol is one of the clearest examples of negligence that can justify compensation in a civil personal injury lawsuit. Drunk driving can happen especially often during the holidays. If you or a loved one has been in a car accident with a drunk driver, your injuries may be severe, and an attorney can help you take the necessary steps to recover compensation for your losses.

What Makes Drunk Driving Dangerous?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), alcohol impairs a driver’s physical and mental abilities in many ways, and the effects increase as more drinks are consumed. Among other things, alcohol affects:

  • Judgment
  • Alertness
  • Focus and concentration
  • Visual functions
  • Balance
  • Coordination and control
  • Reaction time
  • Memory and information processing

Clearly, getting behind the wheel while your mind and body are in this impaired state demonstrates a disregard for the safety of others on the road. When this breach of a driver’s duty of care causes a car accident and injuries resulting in economic and non-economic damages, the driver can be considered negligent, and therefore liable.

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Milwaukee, WI drunk driving defense attorneyBy Attorney Cameron Weitzner

In Wisconsin, a law enforcement officer can pull you over if they have reasonable suspicion that you are operating your vehicle while intoxicated (OWI). This can be a stressful situation whether or not you have been drinking, and it is important that you know how to approach it to avoid possibly making things worse. An unintentional mistake could lead to additional legal consequences or make it more difficult for you to contest the charges against you in a criminal proceeding.

What to Do When an Officer Pulls You Over

If you see that an officer is trying to pull you over, here are some suggestions for how to handle the situation:

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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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Milwaukee WI drunk driving defense attorney

By Attorney Brianna Meyer

As is true in all 50 states, driving drunk is illegal and has severe consequences. Not only do drivers put themselves at risk, but they can also endanger the passengers in their car, pedestrians, and people in other vehicles. In Wisconsin, it is illegal for a driver who is at least 21 years old to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or greater. Drivers are also prohibited from driving while under the influence of intoxicants, with any detectable amount of a restricted controlled substance in their bloodstream, and/or while they are under the influence of controlled substances or other drugs. Those below the age of 21 must have complete sobriety when driving or operating a vehicle.

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"Milwaukee

By Attorney Brianna Meyer

In Wisconsin, refusing a breathalyzer test after being arrested for suspected drunk driving can result in the suspension of your driver’s license. However, what many people do not know is that a roadside blood alcohol content (BAC) test is voluntary. Due to the danger of license suspension, many people submit to a breathalyzer test and live with the results that come from it. However, breathalyzer tests are not always 100 percent accurate, and there are ways to challenge the results in Wisconsin courts.

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Milwaukee, WI Professional License Defense AttorneysBy Attorney Kristen Nelson

Being arrested for operating while intoxicated is scary. The first thing most people worry about is how the arrest and subsequent conviction will affect their driver’s license and their ability to drive. They hire an attorney who is experienced with OWI cases. But, if you are a healthcare professional in Wisconsin, you also need an attorney who is experienced with professional licensing defense.

Depending on your professional license, you may or may not need to report your OWI conviction to the licensing board that granted you your license. If you are renewing your license while the case is pending, meaning after your arrest but before the case is resolved, you will most likely need to report the arrest on your renewal application.

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Wisconsin drunk driving charges defense lawyerDuring the holiday season, you will likely have many occasions to celebrate with friends and family. When you drink alcohol at these parties, it is best to avoid getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. You should do everything you can to ensure that you are not one of the many who will be arrested for OWI (Operating While Intoxicated, the official charge for drunk driving in Wisconsin) during the holidays.

Alcohol Consumption by Holiday

According to Alcohol.org, the average number of drinks consumed on Thanksgiving is 2.7. The average number of drinks consumed on other “winter holidays” is 3.1. New Year’s Eve is one of the booziest holidays for Americans, as the average number of drinks consumed on that day is 4.4. 

Tips to Avoid Driving Drunk

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, one of the organizations that make up the National Institutes of Health, offers the following tips:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_OWI-Milwaukee_20180803-181514_1.jpgby Attorney Steven McGaver and Law Clerk Nick Nelson 

Operating while under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances is a serious offense that can greatly affect a person’s ability to drive, reputation, criminal record, insurance rates, finances, or even career. Offenses commonly known as “drunk driving” are known as Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) in Wisconsin, and drivers should be sure to understand the consequences they may face if they are arrested for OWI.

OWI Penalties

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Milwaukee criminal defense lawyers, OWI, buzzed driving, drunk driving, DUI defenseDrunk driving is a serious threat to the safety of everyone who uses the road. Across the United States, there are an average of more than 10,000 fatalities every year in car crashes involving a driver who is under the influence of alcohol.

The penalties for driving while under the influence are severe, and an arrest for operating while intoxicated (OWI) can result in substantial fines, jail time, driver’s license suspension, mandatory alcohol addiction assessment and counseling, and the requirement to use an ignition interlock device (IID) in one’s vehicle.

Even though the potential consequences of drunk driving are well-known, many people continue to get behind the wheel after drinking, believing that if they have had just one or two drinks, they will be able to drive safely. However, this type of activity, known as “buzzed driving,” is incredibly dangerous. Moreover, even if a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is under the legal limit of .08 percent, he or she is still putting himself or herself and others at risk.

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