What does an OWI charge mean?

An Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) charge applies to any scenario in which a driver operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In Wisconsin, it’s illegal to drive while impaired. If law enforcement has probable cause to think you have been driving while intoxicated, you will likely be asked to take a breath, blood, or urine test. 

What if I refuse to take a blood test for a suspected OWI?

As an “implied consent” state, Wisconsin assumes that all drivers give their consent to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test when law enforcement has probable cause to suspect the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Refusing to take a test can lead to additional penalties, steeper fines, a more extended driver’s license revocation period, and other consequences. If you have refused to submit to testing, call our office immediately to determine the most strategic path forward. 

What are the penalties for a first-time OWI offense in Wisconsin?

It’s important to understand that a first-time OWI is considered a civil offense, meaning that you may not face criminal charges. However, you will likely face a license revocation (usually between six to nine months), steep fines, or the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device for a specific amount of time. Even first-time OWI offenders can benefit greatly from enlisting the guidance of an experienced OWI defense lawyer. 

What's the difference between misdemeanor and felony OWI penalties?

Second and third OWI offenses are usually considered misdemeanor offenses, punishable by up to one year in jail and up to $2,000 in fines. If convicted of an OWI misdemeanor, you’ll also face a license revocation for up to three years. For fourth-time offenders, the charge elevates to a felony offense, carrying a jail term of up to six years, up to $10,000 in fines, and additional restrictions on your driving privileges.  

Can I still be convicted of an OWI if no tests were administered at the time of my arrest?

Yes. If you refused to submit to a test, law enforcement can interpret your refusal as a sign of your guilt. It’s also possible for law enforcement to testify to how you were acting and responding at the scene. It’s essential that you contact a skilled Wisconsin OWI defense attorney right away to explore your legal options. 

Is there a difference between a marijuana OWI and a drunk driving OWI in Wisconsin?

OWI charges apply to any sort of intoxicant that impairs your ability to operate a motor vehicle. For sentencing purposes, driving under the influence of marijuana, alcohol, or any other controlled substance can result in an OWI charge. Whatever the specifics of your arrest may be, give Ulrich Law Office, LLC, a call as soon as possible to discuss your situation. 

How long does an OWI conviction stay on my driving record?

All OWI Convictions in Wisconsin are permanent.

In fact, OWI-related offenses in other states will count as OWI convictions for the purposes of determining what number OWI you are facing in Wisconsin. The only exception might be when an individual is convicted of a first offense OWI, and then is not convicted of another OWI for 10 years or more, a second offense OWI will be treated as a 2nd First Offense. However, if you are convicted of a subsequent OWI offense within this 10 year period, the new charge is considered a second OWI offense. 

I have only ever been convicted of two 1st Offense OWIs, why am I now being charged with a 3rd offense OWI?

Once an individual has two prior OWI convictions, even if the first two were considered first offenses under Wisconsin’s 10 year rule, an additional OWI will always be treated as a third offense OWI, even if the third offense is another 10 years after the most recent OWI conviction.  Penalties for a third offense include 45 days minimum jail and up to one year maximum jail. Additionally, unlike 2nd offense OWIs, a person convicted of a third offense OWI must begin their jail sentence immediately and is taken from the courtroom directly to jail.

Will I face jail time for an OWI conviction in Wisconsin?

First-time OWI offenders do not face jail time, but they must still pay fines and face the revocation of their driver’s license for several months. However, repeat offenders can face jail time, steep fines, and additional penalties that can negatively impact their freedom and future. Get in touch with a trusted OWI defense attorney right away to learn more. 

Law enforcement has arrested me for a criminal offense. Can I explain my way out of it?

While many people’s instinct is to explain the situation or share their side of the story with the arresting officers, any statements you make can be used to build a criminal case against you. The best thing you can do is to cooperate with the officers and exercise your Constitutional right to remain silent until you’ve had the chance to speak with your attorney.  

When should I call a Wisconsin OWI defense lawyer?

As soon as you can, reach out to Ulrich Law Office, LLC, to discuss your situation with me. I’ve helped many people understand their legal rights and I have provided them with the compassion and confidence they need to navigate this intimidating situation. The sooner you call me, the sooner I can get to work advocating for your freedom and future.  

Contact Ulrich Law Office, LLC, today at (920) 231-1300 to arrange a free consultation with a trusted Wisconsin criminal defense attorney.