Wisconsin

wisconsinWisconsin State Law

Wisconsin has two sets of procedures that you must attend to when you have been charged with a OWI—administrative and judicial. We suggest that you consult with a OWI attorney immediately to make sure you get the best advice for your particular situation as laws are always changing.

Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Procedures
Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT)
Wisconsin is one of 42 states that has implemented ALR which means that your license will be confiscated immediately if your BAC is above .08 OR if you refuse a BAC test. Your license will either be suspended or revoked at that point, even though you have not been officially convicted in a criminal trial. In fact, you can be charged with an administrative license suspension even if you are not later charged with a driving under the influence offense. This action was designed to be in addition to and separate from the traditional OWI judicial conviction penalties such as license suspension, jail time, community service hours, ignition interlock device (IID), and alcohol and drug rehabilitation.

You will be given a 10 day grace period during which you can drive under a temporary driving permit issued by the officer at the scene. During that time, you can request a hearing to challenge this case. This case will be heard by an administrative law judge. If you do not request a hearing, your license will be automatically remain suspended on the 11th day for 6 months. After the suspension period, you will have a restricted license allowing you to drive to work or school, health care providers, parole or probation meetings, drug and alcohol counseling, court approved locations and emergencies. Wisconsin allows you to install an interlock device in lieu of suspension after 30 days.

Remember that this is a separate case from the judicial case, with separate authorities and separate rulings. This can be a very important influence upon the judicial procedures, but you must act very quickly if you wish to challenge this.

Judicial Procedures
In Wisconsin, the drunk driving law prohibits a person from driving when they have a BAC of .08% or higher. Courts are required to order the installation and monitoring of an interlock device for any driver whose BAC levels are .15% or higher, even if a first offense.

License Revocation, Fines and Jail

  • First Offense – Civil Offense: $150 to $300 fine plus surcharges, 6 to 9 months license revocation (occupational license available immediately), and mandatory alcohol assessment/evaluation. For BAC 0.15% or higher: Ignition interlock devices for a minimum of one year for every owned by or registered vehicle once driving privileges have been reinstated. If minor under 16 is in the vehicle at the time of a first offense: Increases to criminal misdemeanor with same penalties as a second OWI offense.
  • Second Offense – Misdemeanor: $350 to $1,100 fine plus surcharges, 5 days to 6 months in jail, 12 to 18 months license revocation (occupational license may be available after 45 days), ignition interlock restriction on all vehicles owned by or registered to the offender for a minimum period of 1 year once driving privileges have been reinstated, and mandatory alcohol assessment/evaluation.
  • Third Offense – Misdemeanor: $600 to $2,000 fine plus surcharges, 45 days to 1 year in jail, 2 to 3 years license revocation (occupational license may be available after 45 days), ignition interlock restriction on all vehicles owned by or registered to the offender for a minimum period of 1 year once driving privileges have been reinstated,and  mandatory alcohol assessment/evaluation. IMPORTANT NOTE: Upon a third OWI conviction, the offenders permissible legal BAC limit will be lowered from 0.08% to 0.02%.
  • Fourth Offense – Misdemeanor or Felony (if within five years): $600 to $10,000 fine plus surcharges, 1 to 6 years imprisonment, 2 to 3 years license revocation (occupational drivers license may be available after 45 days), ignition interlock restriction on all vehicles owned by or registered to the offender for a minimum period of 1 year once driving privileges have been reinstated, and mandatory alcohol assessment/evaluation.
  • Fifth/Sixth Offense – Felony: $600 to $10,000 fine plus surcharges, 6 months to 5 years imprisonment, 2 to 3 years license revocation (occupational license may be available after 45 days), ignition interlock restriction on all vehicles owned by or registered to the offender for a minimum period of 1 year once driving privileges have been reinstated, and mandatory alcohol assessment/evaluation
  • Seventh, Eighth or Ninth Offense – Felony:  up to $25,000 fine plus surcharges, up to 10 years imprisonment, 2 to 3 years license revocation (occupational license may be available after 45 days), ignition interlock restriction on all vehicles owned by or registered to the offender for a minimum period of 1 year once driving privileges have been reinstated, and mandatory alcohol assessment/evaluation
  • Tenth and Subsequent Offense – Felony: up to $25,000 fine plus surcharges, up to 12 years and 6 months imprisonment, 2 to 3 years license revocation (occupational license may be available after 45 days), ignition interlock restriction on all vehicles owned by or registered to the offender for a minimum period of 1 year once driving privileges have been reinstated, and mandatory alcohol assessment/evaluation.
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