Operating while intoxicated (OWI) is a complex subject. While the law does not prohibit individuals from driving a vehicle after having a drink (or two), knowing how much you can have before going over the legal limit is difficult to gauge. And, when you consider that the tests used to evaluate intoxication (such as the field sobriety tests, breath tests and blood tests are not always accurate, you can see that OWI charges are not always black and white.
A Wisconsin OWI offense triggers two legal actions: one administrative and the other the court case involving the actual charge. Because driving privileges are considered to be an administrative matter, you could lose your license even before facing your charges in court—unless you submit a hearing request within 10 business days to appeal your automatic license suspension.
If convicted of drunk driving, you will then face a penalties and a potential criminal sentence. Generally, jail time is not mandatory for a first OWI conviction; however, subsequent offenses carry an incarceration penalty. Other potential punishments can include community service, license revocation, an alcohol assessment and ignition interlock device installation.
A drunk-driving conviction will be reported on both your criminal and driving record, which can make applying for employment or schooling more difficult. In addition, a criminal record could have an impact when requesting custody of your children in a divorce or leaving the country (whether on vacation or for business).
At Tracey Wood & Associates, our legal team understands the complexities of an OWI offense—and how to find evidence that will help your case. In fact, Attorney Tracey Wood was the first Wisconsin attorney to be appointed to the National College of DUI Defense's Board of Regents, the premiere organization when it comes to OWI offense education.
We invite you to ask your OWI-related questions by submitting your contact information through our online form.