Drunk driving is known to be very dangerous, and a driver who has been consuming alcohol or using other substances that impair their ability to operate a vehicle will be much more likely to become involved in a car accident and cause harm to others. Because of this, driving while intoxicated is illegal. Drivers who get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol may be stopped by police, arrested, and charged with Operating While Intoxicated (OWI). While any OWI is a serious criminal charge, some cases may result in additional charges due to what are known as “aggravating factors.” These issues may lead to a driver being charged with a felony offense, and they may potentially face over one year of imprisonment, as well as other consequences.
When Can OWI Be Charged as a Felony?
In the state of Wisconsin, a driver will usually not face felony charges for OWI unless they have multiple previous convictions. Felony charges for OWIs with three or more previous convictions include:
Fourth OWI: Class H felony with a prison sentence of 60 days to six years, fines of $600 to $1,000, and driver’s license revocation for two to three years
Fifth or Sixth OWI: Class G felony with a prison sentence of one to 10 years, fines of $600 to $25,000, and driver’s license revocation for two to three years
Seventh, Eighth, or Ninth OWI: Class F felony with a prison sentence of three to 12.5 years, fines up to $25,000, and driver’s license revocation for two to three years
Tenth or Subsequent OWI: Class E felony with a prison sentence of four to 15 years, fines up to $50,000, and driver’s license revocation for two to three years
Felony charges may also apply in some cases where a person is accused of harming someone else due to drunk or intoxicated driving. If a person had previously been convicted of OWI, or if they had previously refused to take a chemical blood alcohol test after being arrested, and they cause someone else to suffer an injury while committing OWI, they may be charged with a Class H felony, sentenced to up to six years in prison, and fined up to $10,000, and their license may be revoked for one to two years.
If an intoxicated driver caused someone else to suffer “great bodily harm,” meaning that the person was injured seriously enough that they were placed at risk of dying, experienced permanent disfigurement, or suffered impairments or loss of function in a body part or organ, the driver may be charged with the offense of injury by intoxicated use of vehicle. This is a Class F felony, and a conviction can result in a sentence of up to 12.5 years in prison, fines of up to $25,000, and a two-year driver’s license revocation.
Finally, causing someone’s death while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a felony offense known as homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle. This is a Class D felony, and a conviction can result in a prison sentence of up to 25 years, fines of up to $100,000, and a five-year driver’s license revocation.
Contact Our Milwaukee, WI Aggravated OWI Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with aggravated OWI in Wisconsin, it is important to contact an experienced lawyer who can help you defend against the charges. The Milwaukee felony OWI defense attorneys at Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP have assisted many clients facing serious drunk driving charges. Contact our office today at 414-271-1440 to get the legal help you need.