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Wisconsin’s Criminal OWI Injury Laws

Posted on in DUI / OWI

OWI conviction, OWI injury charges, Milwaukee OWI injury attorneys, great bodily harm, Class F felonyBy: Steven McGaver and Jason Luczak

If you are accused of drinking and driving, you could be charged with one of several crimes, depending on the facts of your case. For instance, if someone was injured in an accident that may be attributed to your intoxicated driving, you will likely face even much penalties than what would be typical with an OWI conviction.

Due to the severe penalties associated with OWI injury charges, a criminal defense lawyer is necessary to defend your rights in court and to speak to prosecutors on your behalf. 

It is a criminal offense in Wisconsin for a vehicle operator to cause injury to another while the operator is under the influence of an intoxicant, has a prohibited alcohol concentration, or has a detectable amount of a restricted controlled substance in his or her blood.

Punishments for this crime will vary based whether the operator has previous OWI convictions (and how many) and the extent of the injuries caused to others. For example, causing bodily injury with no prior OWIs may result in confinement between 30 days to one year and driver’s license revocation of between two to three years once released from jail.

Causing great bodily harm while OWI is a very serious Class F felony and is punishable by up to 12.5 years of confinement and an additional two years of driver’s license revocation once released from prison. 

Classification of Injuries

Under Wisconsin law, “bodily harm” is defined as “physical pain or injury, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.” For example, soft tissue damage or lacerations are usually considered bodily harm.

In contrast “great bodily harm” is defined as conduct that “creates a substantial risk of death, or causes serious permanent disfigurement, or causes a permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ or other serious bodily injury.” For example, traumatic brain injuries, severely broken bones, or any injury that leaves a considerable scar, may be classified as great bodily harm. 

Defenses to OWI Injury Charges

There are several possible defenses OWI injury charges. Under one common defense, an accused can attempt to prove that the injury would have occurred even if the accused had been exercising due care and had not been under the influence of an intoxicant.

In some cases, it may be a valid defense that the driver had a prescription for the substance found in his or her body at the time of the accident. There are also numerous potential defenses that may be employed relating to the conduct of police officers and investigators. 

Contact a Milwaukee, WI, OWI Injury Criminal Lawyer

The skilled Milwaukee OWI injury attorneys at Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP understand how serious these charges are for the accused and are experienced in defending against such allegations based on the facts of the case and the law at issue.

Call our firm at 414-271-1440 to schedule your first meeting with our team today.

Sources:

http://wisconsindot.gov/Documents/safety/education/drunk-drv/owi-penchrt.pdf

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/346/X/63

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/939/I/22/14

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/939/I/22/4

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