Posted on January 09, 2024 in DUI / OWI

Drunk driving is a serious offense that can have severe consequences. In Wisconsin, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a criminal offense, and in most cases, repeat offenses are treated more severely than first-time offenses. If you have been charged with operating while intoxicated (OWI) in Wisconsin for the second time, it is crucial to understand the potential consequences, and you can defend against a conviction by seeking legal representation as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can advise you of your options for defense and help you determine the best ways to avoid a second conviction for intoxicated driving.

Prior Convictions

One major factor that determines whether a second OWI offense is more serious than a first-time offense is when a prior conviction occurred. In Wisconsin, there is a lookback period of 10 years for determining prior convictions. This means that any previous OWI conviction within the past 10 years will be taken into account when determining the penalties for a subsequent offense.

Penalties for Second-Time OWI Offenders

A first-time drunk driving offense may be treated with some leniency, depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense. Courts may consider a first offense to be a mistake, and they may give a person the opportunity to complete treatment and maintain their driving privileges while using an ignition interlock device (IID) when driving. However, courts will be much less likely to be lenient when a person is charged with a second drunk driving offense. When a second OWI arrest occurs within 10 years of a first OWI, the penalties of a conviction will be more serious.

The potential consequences of a second OWI conviction in Wisconsin may include:

  • Fines: The fine for a second-time OWI can range from $350 to $1,100, plus additional surcharges, court costs, and increased insurance rates. If a child passenger under the age of 16 was in the vehicle, fines may range from $700 to $2,200.
  • License revocation: A person’s driver’s license may be revoked for between one year and 18 months, and any time a person is required to serve in prison will be added to the length of their revocation. If a person was carrying a child passenger at the time of the offense, their license may be revoked for between two and three years. 45 days after the revocation of a license, a person will be able to apply for an occupational license and use an IID, and they will be required to maintain absolute sobriety while driving.
  • Jail time: The minimum sentence for a second OWI conviction is five days, and the maximum sentence is six months. If a child passenger was in the vehicle, the sentence may range from 10 days to one year.

Some counties offer reduced periods of confinement to OWI offenders who successfully complete a period of probation that includes alcohol and other drug abuse treatment or OWI treatment court.

The Importance of Legal Representation

If you have been charged with a second OWI in Wisconsin, seeking experienced legal representation is crucial. An attorney who focuses on OWI cases will understand the complexities of the law, and they will know the best ways to defend against these charges. They can help navigate through the legal process, protect your rights, challenge evidence presented by the prosecution, or raise potential constitutional issues that may affect your case’s outcome.

A skilled attorney will also explore possible defenses unique to your situation. For example, they may be able to question whether there was probable cause for pulling you over, or they may challenge breathalyzer test results. Some counties offer reduced periods of confinement to OWI offenders who successfully complete a period of probation that includes alcohol and other drug abuse treatment or OWI treatment court. These strategies may help you obtain reduced charges, or even a dismissal of your case altogether. With the help of an experienced lawyer, you can increase your chances of getting back behind the wheel as soon as possible while minimizing the effects an OWI arrest will have on your life.

Contact Our Milwaukee, WI Second OWI Defense Attorneys

If you are facing a second OWI charge in Wisconsin, the experienced attorneys at Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP can help you defend against a conviction. Our skilled Milwaukee OWI defense lawyers will help you determine the best strategies for defense, and we will fight to protect your rights. Contact us today at 414-271-1440 to set up a consultation