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OWI First Offense Wisconsin

While a first operating while intoxicated (OWI) offense is classified as a traffic violation in Wisconsin, rather than a criminal matter, it still carries a number of serious penalties that have the potential to impact your day-to-day life. In addition, a first offense can be used against you should you ever be charged with a similar crime in the future. For this reason, any person charged with drunk driving is strongly encouraged to contact a qualified Wisconsin OWI defense attorney to fight his or her charge.

Penalties for a First OWI Offense

One of the initial questions many people ask after being arrested for a first OWI is "will I go to jail?" Fortunately, the answer to this is no (unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as causing an accident and an injury while under the influence or transporting a minor under the age of 16 at the time of the incident—these are treated as criminal offenses).

If convicted of a first offense, you could be sentenced to a fine ranging from $150-$300 (plus $365 in OWI surcharges) and a six- to nine-month license revocation. If your blood alcohol content (BAC) was .15% or higher, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle as a condition of your driver's license reinstatement. This device measures your BAC before allowing you to start the vehicle, and the costs of installation, maintenance and rental must be paid for out of pocket.

If a minor was in your vehicle, the penalties for a conviction are increased. Your potential sentence could include $300-$1,100 in fines, installation of an ignition interlock device for 12-18 months, and between five days and six months behind bars.

To reduce your risk of a subsequent offense, the court will also order you to attend an Intoxicated Driver Program and undergo a risk assessment. Depending on the results of your evaluation, you may be required to seek further treatment.

Fight Your OWI with Experienced Counsel on Your Side

At Tracey Wood & Associates, our attorneys know Wisconsin's OWI laws inside and out—and it shows. Our firm has helped a number of clients successfully fight both their administrative and drunk driving court charges in an effort to avoid the consequences associated with a first OWI offense.

Fighting an OWI is possible, but you need to act swiftly. To get started, please complete our online form now to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation.

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