Generally, operating while intoxicated (OWI) in Wisconsin is classified as a traffic violation (for a first offense) or a misdemeanor; however, habitual offenders may be subject to a felony charge. If you are currently facing a fourth OWI within five years of your last conviction or a fifth (or higher) OWI within your lifetime, you will face a felony charge that has the potential to affect a number of your rights as well as your freedom. In this case, it’s critical that you contact an attorney who has experience defending felony OWIs as soon as possible to begin fighting your charge.
The main difference between a misdemeanor and felony OWI is the incarceration—while a misdemeanor sentence may include less than a year in jail, a felony is punishable by at least six months or more in a state prison. The fines for a felony OWI are also much more expensive, and could be as much as $10,000 or even $25,000, depending on the number of prior convictions on your record.
Those labeled as a convicted felon could also lose a number of rights that we often take for granted. For example, convicted felons are barred from working with certain fields (such as education and government), as well as from owning firearms and even voting. You could also face problems when applying for housing or even trying to travel outside of the United States.
As stated above, those who commit more than four OWI offenses could be charged with a felony. In addition, those who are involved in an automobile accident while under the influence that results in great bodily harm or even death can also face felony charges. These offenses are punishable by up to 12.5 years for causing personal injury and up to 25 years for homicide while OWI.
Being charged with a felony OWI is a scary situation; fortunately, the attorneys at Tracey Wood & Associates have the experience necessary to protect your rights and prepare an appropriate defense strategy for court. To learn how we can fight your OWI felony charge, please do not hesitate to complete our online case evaluation form now for a no-obligation case evaluation.