Wisconsin Third-Offense OWI

The fines, jail, and license penalties resulting from a third-offense OWI/DUI in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin’s OWI (operating while intoxicated) laws prohibit operating a vehicle while:

  • impaired drugs or alcohol to an extent that the person can’t safely drive
  • having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more, or
  • having any amount of a restricted controlled substance in the blood.

A third-offense OWI conviction in Wisconsin generally results in driver’s license revocation, a fine, and a few weeks in jail. Lots of factors can come into play with sentencing. The following are the minimum and maximum consequences of a third OWI in Wisconsin.

Criminal Penalties

An OWI is considered a third offense in Wisconsin if the driver has two prior OWI convictions within the driver’s lifetime. The judge will look at many factors—like the driver’s BAC—in deciding the sentencing, but the minimum and maximum penalties set by statute are as follows.

Jail time. A third-offense OWI carries 45 days to one year in jail. The minimum and maximums are doubled if the driver had a passenger under the age of 16 at the time of the offense. The 45-day minimum can be reduced to 14 days if the driver agrees to treatment and probation.

Treatment. Every offender will need to complete a substance abuse assessment. The results are used to create a driver safety plan, which will outline the required treatment and sobriety requirements for the driver.

Fines. A person who’s convicted of a third OWI generally must pay fines of $600 to $2,000. But the minimum and maximum fines 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.

Driver’s License Revocation/Suspension

If a chemical test shows the driver had a prohibited BAC or drug content at the time of arrest, the driver’s license will be immediately suspended for six months. After conviction, the judge will also revoke the driver’s license for two to three years. The revocation will run concurrently (can overlap) with the suspension.

An offender who had a passenger under 16 years old will have his or her license revocation period doubled.

Hardship license. After 45 days of revocation/suspension, the driver may request a hardship license. This license temporarily permits the person to drive to and from work, school, and treatment.

Ignition interlock devices. Once the driver’s license is reinstated or once the driver is granted a hardship license, there’s a one-year ignition interlock device (IID) requirement.

Talk to an Attorney

If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence in Wisconsin, make sure you get in contact with an OWI lawyer. A third offense OWI mandates jail, massive fines, and extensive license penalties and should be handled by an experienced DUI attorney.

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