Wisconsin defines operating under the influence (OWI) as operating a vehicle:
A second-offense OWI conviction in Wisconsin generally results in jail, a fine, and driver’s license revocation. Many factors can affect sentencing. This article discusses the minimum and maximum possible outcomes of a second OWI in Wisconsin.
An OWI is considered a second offense in Wisconsin if the driver has only one prior OWI conviction that occurred within the last ten years. Wisconsin statutes dictate the minimum and maximum penalties for an OWI conviction, but the judge will ultimately decide the sentence within these ranges.
Jail time. A second-offense OWI carries five days to six months in jail. And if the driver had a passenger under the age of 16 at the time of the offense, the minimum and maximum jail terms are doubled.
However, the judge can allow the driver to serve 30 days community service in lieu of the mandatory five days in jail.
Treatment. All OWI convictions require a substance abuse assessment. A driver safety plan will be created based on the assessment results and can require the driver to complete treatment, DUI classes, or other rehabilitation programs.
Fines. A person who’s convicted of a second OWI generally must pay a fine of $350 to $1,100. However, the minimum and maximum fines amounts are doubled for drivers with a BAC of .17% to .199%, tripled for drivers with a BAC of .20% to .249, and quadrupled for drivers with a BAC of .25% or greater.
As part of an OWI investigation, the officer will ordinarily ask the driver to take a blood, breath, or urine test. If the sample shows a prohibited BAC or drug content, the driver’s license will be administratively suspended for six months. (The administrative suspension is the same for a first offense.) Refusing to participate in BAC testing in Wisconsin can lead to more severe consequences.
If the driver is ultimately convicted of an OWI in court, the judge will also order the driver’s license be revoked for 12 to 18 months. This revocation runs concurrently (can overlap) with the test failure suspension. An offender who had a passenger under 16 years old in the car at the time of the offense will have their license revocation period doubled.
Restricted license. After serving 45 days of the license suspension/revocation, the judge is permitted to grant the driver a hardship license. With a hardship license, the motorist can drive for limited work, school, or treatment purposes.
Ignition interlock device. Upon receiving a hardship or reinstated license, the judge will order an ignition interlock device (IID) be installed and used for at least one year.