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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 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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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 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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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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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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Motorcyclists Should Celebrate Responsibly to Avoid OWIs

Milwaukee motorcycle DUI defense lawyerRecently, Harley-Davidson celebrated its 115 year anniversary with a weekend of motorcycle events in Milwaukee. The festivities included a parade, a demonstration of motorcycle driving skills by police and civilians, and factory tours.

For many people, a birthday or anniversary is a time to celebrate with an alcoholic beverage, but it is important to remember that drinking and riding motorcycles do not mix. The law in Wisconsin is clear: motorcyclists cannot drive with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .08% or greater. In addition, driving under the influence, also known as operating while intoxicated (OWI), comes with stiff penalties in Wisconsin. 

Impaired Motorcycling Statistics

Driving a motorcycle while under the influence is responsible for a large number of deaths each year in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2016, there were 4,950 motorcyclists killed in traffic accidents. Of those, 1,259 (25 percent) were alcohol-impaired with a BAC that was over the legal limit. 

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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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