Wisconsin OWI Fourth Offense Penalties

You Can Potentially Save Your License and Create a Defense (You Only Have 10 Days)
With OWIs, the government will often strip your driving privileges as soon as they can. With a fourth offense the license revocation will be between two and three years. The only way to prevent this suspension is the file an administrative review hearing. At this hearing, your attorney can challenge your arrest and the charge, which can help uncover all the evidence against the defendant.

An arrest for an OWI is always terrifying, but a fourth offense can be even worse. At Tracey Wood & Associates, we understand the emotions that you are going through and are here to help. We make sure that our clients understand what they are facing and the process behind it to lower the uncertainty of the charges. Our wealth of experience and knowledge can help you make a strong informed decision.

Is a Fourth OWI Offense a Misdemeanor or Felony?
Simply put, a fourth offense could be either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on your personal criminal history. If the most recent OWI conviction was five years or more in the past, the charge will be a misdemeanor. If the conviction is more recent than that, it will likely be a Class H felony.

Will I Go to Jail?
If you are convicted of a fourth offense OWI, you will likely go to jail.

  • • If it is a misdemeanor, you will have a sentence that lasts between 60 days and one year.
  • • If it is a felony, the sentence will be between 60 days and six years.

Essentially, a felony increases the maximum punishment significantly.

What Are the Penalties for a Fourth OWI Offense?
Both misdemeanors and felonies have other legal penalties that can accompany a conviction.

  • • A license revocation lasting between two and three years.
  • • An assessment to determine potential alcohol abuse.
  • • A fine with a minimum of $600.

For these penalties, the only difference between a misdemeanor and felony is that with a misdemeanor carries a maximum fine of $1,000, whereas a felony fine can go up to $10,000.

There are other penalties if the charge is a felony OWI. This means that you will lose the right to vote and to own firearms, as convicted felons are denied those privileges. It can also affect employment or housing, as many people will run a background check and a felony can be a sticking point in accepting them.

How Does My BAC Affect My Penalties?
If your blood alcohol content is above a certain level (.17) you will face increased penalties.

  • • A BAC between .17 and .199 means doubled penalties.
  • • A BAC between .20 and .249 means tripled penalties.
  • • A BAC that is .25 or higher mean quadrupled penalties.

How Does Having a Minor in the Car Affect My Penalties?
The presence of a person under 16 in the car at the time of the incident will double the penalties. This means:

  • • A minimum of 120 days in jail and a maximum of 12 years.
  • • Between $1,200 and $20,000 in fines.
  • • An assessment for potential alcohol abuse.

Will I Have to Install an Ignition Interlock Device in My Car?
In most cases, an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) will be installed in your car. This device requires an alcohol free breath test before it will allow the car’s engine to start. This device will usually be required for 1-3 years.

How Much Will a Wisconsin Alcohol Assessment Cost?
Though the specific fee will differ from case to case, but a good estimate is usually $250 or more.

There will often be a required treatment course. You can serve that in your specific county. For out of state residents facing these charges, there are equivalent plans in each state that must be completed.

Can I Legally Refuse the Field Sobriety Tests?
Field sobriety tests can be refused without legal consequences or an affect on the charging or sentencing.

Can I Legally Refuse the Blood Test?
When arrested for an OWI, the officers involved legally have to read you a form, “Informing the Accused.” This sets into motion the OWI process. That means that the police can take a sample of your blood or breath to test your BAC. You can refuse, but then you face a new set of problems for OWI blood draw refusal.

How Will an OWI Charge Affect Me Long-term?
An OWI charge will stay on your legal record forever. That means it is publically viewable and will be attached to your name if a potential employer or landlord chooses to search you. Getting the charge expunged can help remove this from following you around.

Is an OWI Charge in Wisconsin Public Record?
Yes, this OWI charge is publically viewable.

Possible 24-7 Sobriety Program
Because an OWI is an alcohol or drug related offense, the state or court can make constant abstinence from drugs and alcohol a legal requirement for anyone convicted of this crime, or anyone who pleads guilty to these charges.This means that the individual has to submit to testing for drugs or alcohol in your system two times a day.

This can be a condition of probation from an OWI, or as part of an early parole. A judge must order this kind of treatment specifically based on the details of the case. It is typically limited to people with multiple alcohol related legal issues on their record.

Will I Lose My Job Due to an OWI Charge?
An employer can choose to terminate your employment due to an OWI conviction or guilty plea. This is why good legal help is so crucial.

What Are Some Possible Defense for OWI Charges?
While every case is different and must be handled individually, at Tracey Wood & Associates can draw on their wealth of experience with OWI defenses to help form a basis for your specific defense.

  • • Being stopped improperly by the police can be a reason for the whole charge to be dismissed.
  • • The police not following appropriate procedure, for example not reading someone’s Miranda rights, can void the whole charge as well.
  • • Attacking the Blood Alcohol Content tests can also be an effective defense, as BAC test can be falsely high, or rising after the time of arrest.
  • • There are also several avenues of defense that revolve the consent to the blood test, as consent can be forced.


There Is Hope

No matter how serious the evidence against you may seem there is always hope. A good defense team can make a huge difference in your case, and in the course of your life.

Your story is valid, and it deserves to be presented in a court of law. A good defense team can make all the difference in making sure that your story is framed properly and has a major impact on the outcome of the case.

”To empower, educate, and defend those charged with criminal offenses in Wisconsin and achieve the best possible outcome for their case” – Tracey Wood

It can feel like everything is stacked against you, and that the case is hopeless. But we can make a difference. Our team will fight to find the right outcomes from these legal situations. Now is the time for you to begin your journey towards the better defense.

Call us today to schedule a free consultation where we can discuss your situation and what we can do for you.


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

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