The consequences of an OWI/DUI conviction in Wisconsin depend mostly on how many priors the driver has. This article goes over the basics of Wisconsin's OWI laws and the penalties for a second OWI conviction
Wisconsin defines operating under the influence (OWI) as operating a vehicle:
In other words, you can get an OWI based on BAC or actual impairment.
The consequences of a second OWI conviction depend on the specific circumstances of the case. However, the state's OWI laws specify the possible penalty ranges.
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.
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 of community service in lieu of the mandatory five days in jail.
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.
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.
Implied consent and administrative license suspensions. 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 is a violatio of the state's implied consent law and can lead to more severe consequences.
OWI convictions. If the driver is ultimately convicted of an OWI in court, the judge will also order that 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 licenses. 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. Once the driver receives gets his or her license reinstated, there's an ignition interlock device (IID) requirement for at least one year.
If you're arrested for driving under the influence in Wisconsin, it's a good idea to get in contact with an experienced OWI/DUI attorney as soon as possible. A qualified lawyer can help you understand what you're facing and assist you in deciding on the best course of action.