What are the potential penalties for a first time OWI?

| Jul 13, 2020 | DUI Questions |

There are many laws that people in Wisconsin must follow when they are driving on the roads. They must obey speed limits, stop at red lights and stop signs, signal their turns, yield when they do not have the right of way and others. One of those other laws that they need to follow is that people cannot drive after they consumed too much alcohol. When people drive while intoxicated they risk being charged with an OWI, which can result in serious penalties.

It is illegal for people to drive a car if their BAC is above .08. If they are convicted of driving with a BAC above .08 and it is their first OWI, they could be fined between $150 -$300 plus have to pay a $435 OWI surcharge. They will also have their driver’s license revoked for a period of six – nine months if their BAC is below .15. However, if their BAC is above .15 in addition to the license revocation people will need to have an ignition interlock device in their car or be in a 24/7 sobriety program for a period of one year.

These penalties can certainly have a major affect on one’s life and can also be very costly. However, people only realize these potential consequences if they are actually convicted of an OWI. Just like any other crime people are innocent until proven guilty. There may be defenses available to people charged with an OWI. The police must have valid reasons to stop drivers in the first place and then must have a valid reason to expand the stop or request field sobriety tests. If they do not do these steps correctly, the charges could be dismissed.

There are many people who are charged with OWIs in Wisconsin each year. These are serious offenses even for a first-time offense. However, the potential consequences only increase if people have multiple OWIs or higher BAC levels when they drive. It is important to understand the potential defenses and people’s rights after being charged though. Consulting with experienced attorneys could be beneficial.