What Happens When You Get Your First DUI in Wisconsin?

What Happens When You Get Your First DUI in Wisconsin?

A charge of driving under the influence (DUI) in Wisconsin can turn your world upside down, especially if it’s your first offense. You likely feel overwhelmed with concerns about your driver’s license, your job, and how a conviction could affect your life. It’s a serious situation, but understanding the process can significantly reduce your stress.

The most important thing to remember about a first-time DUI charge is that it’s crucial to work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Waukesha Criminal Defense can help you face your situation with confidence and make informed decisions about your next steps.

Definition of Drunk Driving in Wisconsin

While many states use the term DUI to describe someone operating a vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol, Wisconsin law uses the term operating while intoxicated (OWI). Wisconsin’s OWI law bans anyone from operating a vehicle in the following circumstances:

  • When they’re under the influence of any intoxicating or controlled substance to the degree that they can no longer operate a vehicle safely
  • When they have a prohibited blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level, which is 0.08 percent for drivers over 21, 0.04 percent for commercial drivers, and anything above 0 percent for drivers under age 21
  • When they have a detectable amount of a restricted controlled substance in their blood

Penalties for a First-Time DUI/OWI in Wisconsin

The penalties for a first OWI offense in Wisconsin depend on your age, whether you injured anyone in a collision, and other factors. Here are the penalties for a first-time OWI:

Adult Offenders

  • A fine of $150 to $300, plus a $435 OWI surcharge
  • License revocation for six to nine months
  • For a BAC of 0.15 or more, the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) or participation in a 24/7 sobriety program for one year​​

Adult Offenders with a Minor (Under Age 16) in the Vehicle

  • A fine of $350 to $1,100, plus an OWI surcharge
  • License revocation for 12 to 18 months, plus any additional time served in jail
  • Imprisonment of at least five days, and no more than six months
  • For a BAC of 0.15 or more, the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) for up to 18 months, in addition to any jail time they serve

Underage Offenders

  • A fine of $200 and four demerit points on their driver’s license
  • License suspension for three months

Defense Strategies for a First-Time OWI in Wisconsin

When you face a first-time OWI charge in Wisconsin, your DUI defense attorney may employ one of several defense strategies to contest the charge, such as:

  • Challenging the legality of the traffic stop
  • Questioning the accuracy of the breathalyzer test
  • Examining the reliability of field sobriety tests
  • Disputing blood alcohol concentration (BAC) testing procedures
  • Looking for any chain of custody issues with police evidence
  • Examining the potential impact of certain medical conditions

Contact a Wisconsin DUI Attorney Today

At Waukesha Criminal Defense, we’re here to protect your rights and see your first-time OWI case to a successful conclusion. Call our firm today or complete our contact form for a free consultation.