Beginning December 1, 2018 a charge and conviction for a 4th offense OWI (OWI and DUI mean the same thing) in Wisconsin will result in a lifetime revocation of your driver’s license. That’s right, you will permanently lose your driving privileges if you are convicted of four OWI-Related offenses during your lifetime. This law will apply to all fourth and subsequent offenses. This is a significant change to already serious consequences for a felony OWI conviction.
Hiring a Lawyer for a First Offense OWI in Wisconsin can save you Time, Money, your Driver’s License, and potentially your Job
Any time you face potential civil or criminal penalties it is recommended that you retain the services of a qualified attorney. This is true for any OWI offense including a first offense OWI. Now as a criminal defense attorney who focuses a lot of energy on OWI defense I may be biased in my opinion. Similarly, you may have a friend who claims they handled their drunk driving case themselves. Is it possible to “go it alone” on your first offense OWI, yes, is it recommended, absolutely not. Below are
Frequently Asked Questions about DUIs in Wisconsin
Do I have to answer the officer’s questions when pulled over?
When law enforcement pulls someone over there are certain questions that person needs to answer and other questions that do not. Upon request you should answer and provide documents indicating your name, address, car insurance, license and registration. These are all common questions during a traffic stop. Outside of these common traffic stop questions, you are not legally required to answer any other questions. This is especially true for such questions as “have you been drinking” or “where are you coming from.” Although refusing to answer questions may delay the traffic stop, what you say may be used against you.
Wisconsin has two different types of criminal charges, misdemeanors and felonies. A criminal charge is one that is punishable by imprisonment. A felony in Wisconsin is a crime punishable by imprisonment in the Wisconsin state prisons. Every other crime is considered a misdemeanor and is punishable by a sentence to the county jail. Classifications of misdemeanors can be found here. Wisconsin has nine felony classifications A-I.
How can I get put on House Arrest in Wisconsin?
House arrest, otherwise known as electronic monitoring, is available to individuals who have been sentenced to the county jail. Whether or not you are placed on house arrest is up to the sheriff and the deputies who run the county jail. Under Wis. Stat § 302.425 the legislature gave the power to place someone on home detention to the local sheriff. A judge can only sentence you to jail. A judge cannot sentence you to home detention and a judge cannot prohibit you from being placed on home detention. However, there are things that you can do to help your chances.
What is a Preliminary Breath Test?
A preliminary breath test (PBT) is a test used by law enforcement to determine whether or not an individual is intoxicated. For the most part, PBTs are used in OWI investigations. Knowing the purpose of this test and how it can be used against you is important.
If you have been charged with a crime, a DUI, or any offense for which you are seeking representation, you likely have many questions you want to ask. You will want to make sure you ask the right questions to find the right defense attorney. Don’t worry about the charges you are facing, the attorney will likely inquire about the facts of your case. Instead, focus on the qualifications of the criminal defense attorney you are meeting with.
A misdemeanor charge in Wisconsin is punishable by up to a year in the county jail. A felony on the other hand is a criminal charge that is punishable by imprisonment in a Wisconsin state prison. Every other crime is considered a misdemeanor. In addition to a potential jail sentence, misdemeanor charges have the potential for fines of $10,000. Misdemeanors are very common criminal charges in Wisconsin. Although they are not as serious as a felony charge they do have significant consequences.
OWI Defense Starts with Challenging the Standard Field Sobriety Tests in Wisconsin OWI Cases
Any OWI defense attorney will tell you that a big part of an officer’s decision to arrest you is the field sobriety tests they ask you to perform. So obviously, an aggressive OWI defense includes challenging those tests. Anyone who has had the pleasure of taking these tests knows the difficulty in “passing” them. Although the filed sobriety tests do not seem overly difficult, they are very subjective. That means your ability to properly complete the FSTs is open for interpretation.
A conviction for a DUI in Wisconsin stays on your record and will always be there. Specifically, any drunk driving offense after 1989 counts towards your lifetime total when it comes to DUI penalties. If you go ten years without a DUI, your next DUI will be counted as a first offense for penalty purposes. This is called a second first offense. However, that only applies for your second offense DUI. After two DUIs, no matter how long in-between convictions, your lifetime convictions are counted for penalty purposes.