Every day, accidents occur due to individuals who drive while under the influence. For this reason, the authorities crack down on people who drive while impaired.
If you or a loved one face such charges, it can be helpful to fully understand the law it stands upon. In that vein, you should know a few important factors regarding Wisconsin's OWI laws.
What it is
Operating while intoxicated, or OWI, is another way to classify a form of drinking and driving. While this term is not commonly used in all states, it is a common choice in Wisconsin, in addition to DUI.
What it is not
While an OWI offense is a form of drinking while driving, it is not the same as a DUI offense. Taking a closer look at the determination of each charge can help to form this differentiation. For an officer to charge a party with a DUI, the officer must be able to show the party is legally drunk, according to his or her blood alcohol level, while operating a vehicle. On the other hand, an officer may charge a party with an OWI if he or she has any level of alcohol in his or her system while he or she is in charge of a vehicle. It is important to note that to be in charge of a vehicle, a party does not have to be operating the vehicle, but rather be in possession of the key elements to operate the vehicle.
What it does
According to the OWI law now in place, a conviction for OWI can lead to stiff penalties. A first charge is minor with a small fine and possible license suspension up to nine months. However, further convictions carry greater fines and possible jail time, as well as a felony conviction.
If you are looking to fight your OWI case, understanding these key aspects may aid in your efforts. It may also be beneficial to consult with a professional.