Drivers who are arrested on suspicion of drunk driving in Wisconsin should understand the state’s laws and associated penalties if convicted. Being armed with the right information can help people in the face of challenging times to navigate the often confusing world of lodging a successful defense against OWI, DWI or DUI charges.

The most serious charge possible for an impaired driving offense is a felony conviction. This is reserved for two situations—a fourth DUI conviction with the third one being less than five years prior to the current charge or a fifth DUI conviction during a lifetime. Persons convicted of felony DUI offenses can face up to three years in jail and drivers’ license revocations that last as long as three years. There may be some ability to receive what are called occupational licenses, which allow people to operate vehicles when driving to or from either work or school. Use of ignition interlock devices would typically accompany these licenses. Fines can reach $10,000 for felony DUI convictions.

A first DUI conviction in Wisconsin generally is classified as a non-criminal offense. Persons found guilty of first-time drunk driving charges spend no time in jail, pay fines up to $300 and have their licenses suspended between six and nine months. Occupational licenses may be available but without the requirement for an IID unless defendants refused to participate in blood alcohol testing or had a BAC level over 0.15 percent.

Second and third convictions as well as fourth convictions, with the third being more than five years prior, are all classified as misdemeanors. The fines, jail time and license revocations become harsher with each additional conviction. Regardless of the level of offense, defendants may face stricter penalties if minors are present in vehicles at the time arrests are made. As an experienced OWI, DWI and DUI attorney, Craig Kuhary understands these and other possible penalties that people face. To learn more, please visit our drunk driving page. 

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