Changes to OWI laws in Wisconsin
Drivers who are convicted in the state of Wisconsin for multiple drunk driving offenses should be aware of how the 2009 Wisconsin Act has strengthened DWI laws in the state. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation there are four main changes which were made to existing laws to strengthen them:
1. If you have been arrested for a fourth operating while intoxicated charge (OWI) and it is within five years of a previous OWI offense, you will be charged with a felony.
2. You will be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.
3. You will be required to attend more treatment programs in efforts to reduce the likelihood that you will continue to drink and drive.
4. Fines will increase if you are charged with an OWI and you have a child under the age of 16 in the car.
One of the most severe changes in the laws includes the increased need to install an ignition interlock device. If you have been convicted of multiple OWI offenses, if you have refused to take a blood alcohol content test (BAC) or you have been convicted with a very high (above 0.15% or higher) BAC the state will require you to install an ignition interlock device on every car that you own or that is registered to you (the court may be willing to exempt a car under specific circumstances).
The ignition interlock must be installed on the vehicles for at least one year. Drivers who attempt to remove, disconnect or not install the devices will have their requirements extended for an additional six months.
How does the OWI affect my Wisconsin driver’s license?
The law also extended the driver’s license revocation period by the number of days which the person is sentenced to jail or imprisonment. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, “If a 12 month license revocation is imposed, and 5 days in jail, a revocation of 370 days will result.”
Can drivers with multiple OWI convictions continue to get an occupational license? Yes, in fact the laws reduced the wait to 45 days but as mentioned above, the driver is expected to install an ignition interlock device. Fines have also been increased for drivers to reinstate their license to $200.
What other fines and penalties can you expect for a fourth time OWI conviction?
If you have been arrested and convicted of four OWIs in Wisconsin the state recognizes that you have an addiction and the fines and penalties are severe. You can expect to spend 60 days to 1 year in jail, pay fines of $600 to $2,000, have your license suspended from 2 to 3 years (with the option to get an occupational license), mandatory attendance in an alcohol assessment class, mandatory purchase of SR22 insurance, potential immobilization or seizure or your car and a mandatory ignition interlock device.
Hiring a OWI Lawyer in Wisconsin
Drivers arrested of an OWI in Wisconsin should contact an OWI lawyer as soon as possible. This is a serious charge with serious consequences as outlined above.
- Wisconsin – Second Drunk Driving Arrest (duiattorneyhome.com)
- Wisconsin OWI – What happens to my Minnesota license? (duiattorneyhome.com)
- DUI – Top 5 Questions (duiattorneyhome.com)
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