First Offense Penalties in Wisconsin OWI

Question: What are the penalties for a first offense OWI in Wisconsin?

Your first OWI arrest can be stressful. At Tracey Wood & Associates, we empower our clients with knowledge to help them through some of the most difficult situations they’ll face in their lifetimes. If you’re facing OWI charges, we are here to answer some of your most pressing questions.

What Kind Of Charge Is A First OWI?
First OWI offenses are considered misdemeanors, not felonies in Wisconsin.

Does A First OWI Involve Jail Time?
First OWI offenses do not carry jail time as punishment unless there was a child under 16 years of age in the vehicle or if someone was injured or killed as a result of a drunk driving crash. After your first OWI offense, jail time is mandatory for all subsequent OWI offenses.

What Are The Punishments For A First OWI?
Your license will be revoked for a minimum of six months and a maximum of nine months. You will be fined a minimum of $150 and a maximum of $300. You will also face a mandatory Alcohol and Other Drug Assessment (AODA) and be required to pay for and complete any recommended treatments. Fees vary across Wisconsin but generally cost $250 or more. If you live in Wisconsin, you must complete any treatments or courses in your county. If you live out of state, you must complete an equivalent therapy in your state.

Can I Get My Charges Reduced Or Dismissed?
Yes, several factors can help get your charges dismissed or reduced before you ever step foot in a courtroom.

What Happens If I Refuse To Take A Breath Test, Blood Test, Or Field Sobriety Test?
You are legally allowed to refuse to take a field sobriety test without facing additional charges, but you are required to comply if law enforcement requests a breath test or blood test. You could face additional charges for refusing a breath test or blood test, including fines, license suspension up to one year, AODA assessment and treatment, possible installation of an ignition interlock device for up to one year.

Will I Be Required To Have An Ignition Interlock Device Installed Because Of An OWI?
If officers requested a breath test or blood test and your BAC was 0.15 or more, you could be required to install an ignition interlock device for one year.

What Are The Consequences For A First Offense OWI If I’m Underage?
Wisconsin has a zero-tolerance law for underage individuals. If police stop you for drunk driving underage, they will arrest you.

What Is The 24-7 Sobriety Program?
This program is typically only required for people with multiple drunk driving convictions. It requires you to be tested for alcohol or drug use twice a day for a period of time as a condition of your punishment.

How Do I Avoid Losing My License After A First Offense OWI?
You must request an administrative suspension hearing or refusal hearing within ten days after your first offense OWI arrest in order to fight to keep your license. If you do not request a hearing within ten days, your license will be suspended automatically. This happens independently of your actual court date.

Can I Get An Occupational License After A First Offense OWI?
You can apply for an occupational license if your normal driver’s license has been suspended. It allows you to operate a vehicle to get to and from work within a given time range.

How Long Does A First Offense OWI Stay On My Record?
A first offense OWI can stay on your record permanently and be publicly available, but there are potential ways to get it expunged.

Will I Be Fired For An OWI?
Your employer could potentially terminate your employment due to an OWI conviction.

Will My Insurance Go Up?
If you’re convicted of an OWI, your insurance will likely increase.

How Can I Fight My Charges?
There are many ways to fight OWI charges. The attorneys at Tracey Wood & Associates will discuss the best course of action. Some possible defenses include:

  • • Misconduct or mistakes by law enforcement like making an improper stop or failing to read Miranda rights
  • • False test results or faulty testing equipment
  • • Rising blood alcohol content after a stop

Don’t Lose Hope
At Tracey Wood & Associates, we empower our clients to fight for their rights. A charge does not equal a conviction. Facing OWI charges can be intimidating, but every client should have hope for a positive outcome because we never stop fighting for our clients. Reach out today to start planning your defense.


Call (608) 490-5779 or Schedule a Free Case Evaluation Online

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