Question: Can you explain the new OWI punishments that went into effect in Wisconsin in 2017?

Answer: The legislature passed several laws that went into effect in 2017 that increased the penalties for operating while intoxicated convictions. Most notable is that all fourth offenses are now considered felonies. Previously, a fourth OWI was a misdemeanor unless there had been a prior OWI within the last five years. The legislature also increased the maximum penalties for felony OWIs. Fifth and sixth offenses are now punishable by up to 10 years in prison; seventh, eighth and ninth offenses are punishable by up to 12-and-a-half years in prison; and tenth offense and higher OWIs are punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

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