Penalties for 1st DUI in Wisconsin
Milwaukee Law Firm Experienced in DUI Defense Explains the Penalties for a 1st DUI in Wisconsin
According to the latest OWI statistics in Wisconsin, there were nearly 34,000 people arrested for a DUI in Wisconsin during 2012 alone. The average BAC level for those charged with a DUI in Wisconsin was 0.17%. Unfortunately, more than a quarter of adults in our state admit they have driven under the influence of alcohol. This is a greater percentage than any other state in the U.S. Wisconsin has gotten a lot of heat over the last few years for not doing enough to prevent drunk driving, including patrol enforcement and legal/criminal enforcement. Penalties for a first offense DUI in Wisconsin are now getting a lot stiffer.
When you are charged with a first offense DUI in Milwaukee or anywhere in Wisconsin, you will usually not face any immediate jail or prison time. However, even a first offense DUI in Wisconsin carries significant, life-altering penalties. Worst of all, you could be convicted even if you were driving within the legal limit. If the court determines you were “incapable of safely driving” while under the influence of any amount of alcohol, DUI penalties are the same as if you exceeded the legal blood-alcohol limit of 0.08.
Below, our DUI defense law firm in Milwaukee explains the penalties you face when charged with a 1st offense DUI in Wisconsin.
You are not guilty until you are convicted™
1st DUI in Wisconsin: Penalties for BAC Below 0.15%
Wisconsin is the only state in the U.S. where a first offense DUI is usually not considered a criminal offense. Despite the fact that a 1st offense OWI in Wisconsin is not criminal, it still carries severe penalties and a long-standing stigma.
Fines for being convicted of a 1st offense DUI in Wisconsin (with a BAC below 0.15%) range from $150 and $300. In addition to the fine, a “Driver Improvement Surcharge” of $435 will also be applied. When combined with other court costs, this number can easily reach into $900s.
Your driver’s license will also be revoked for 6 to 9 months. While many of those convicted of a 1st DUI in Wisconsin are eligible for an occupational license, obtaining one involves added financial expenses. If you do receive an occupational license you are required to stay below .02 blood alcohol level or face being charged with a 2nd DUI in Wisconsin. The penalty if caught driving with a revoked license is up to one year in jail!
Getting a first DUI in Wisconsin also usually includes a drug and alcohol assessment (which the convicted is required to pay for) and successful completion of a traffic safety course, also known as DUI school or DUI class. The cost for this course also falls on the convicted.
1st DUI in Wisconsin: Penalties for BAC Above 0.15%
There are additional penalties for a 1st DUI in Wisconsin if your BAC (blood alcohol content) was above 0.15%. The court may require your vehicle and any vehicle that you operate, including work vehicles to be equipped with an ignition interlock device, also known as an IID, for 12 months. IIDs require you to perform a breathalyzer test before you can start your vehicle and while you drive. Aside from being embarrassing and even dangerous, it can cost thousands of dollars.
1st DUI in Wisconsin: Refused Breathalyzer or Field Sobriety Test
If you were arrested for a 1st DUI in Wisconsin and refused a breathalyzer or refused a field sobriety test your driver’s license will be revoked. You will also be ordered to have an IID installed in your vehicle for up to 1 year.
1st DUI in Wisconsin: Minor Under 16 in the Vehicle
If you were pulled over for a 1st DUI in Milwaukee and there was a minor under the age of 16 in the vehicle this makes your offense a crime. Fines increase between $350 and $1,100 (plus the $435 surcharge). Your driver's license may be revoked for up to 18 months and you could face up to 6 months in jail. You may also be required to have an IID installed in your vehicle for up to 2 years. In Wisconsin, these DUI penalties apply even when you are below the legal alcohol limit.
1st DUI in Wisconsin: Should I Get a Lawyer?
When charged with a 1st DUI in Wisconsin, many people wonder, "Should I get a lawyer?” The common misconception are that lawyers will be more costly than the actual DUI itself. FALSE! When you hire a Milwaukee attorney experienced in DUI charges you can get everything from fines reduced to the entire charge DROPPED! If you have to have an IID, you may be able to get an IID Exemption so you don’t have to buy one for more than one vehicle. To give yourself the best chance at beating the charges you face, it’s critical to hire a Milwaukee criminal defense attorney who understands how to beat drunk driving charges. It’s also extremely important to hire an attorney who has received awards for legal defense work, as well as to check the attorney’s reviews. If you were arrested for a DUI in Milwaukee, the biggest mistake you can make is not hiring a DUI defense lawyer.
The DUI Defense Attorney Milwaukee Trusts to Get Charges for a 1st DUI in Wisconsin Reduced or DROPPED
Tom Grieve and the team at Grieve Law have been honored by nationally-recognized attorney rating organizations, as well as local publications including Avvo.com, The National Trial Lawyers, Super Lawyers, Newsweek, Milwaukee Magazine and numerous others.
With a long list of criminal defense legal honors and awards, Grieve Law are the DUI defense attorneys Milwaukee and surrounding areas trust to get charges for a 1st DUI in Wisconsin reduced or dropped completely. Named one of the best criminal defense attorneys in Wisconsin and DUI lawyers in Milwaukee, Grieve Law is widely known by the court system for his ability to produce powerful, strategic defenses which get his client’s charges dropped or reduced.
When your court date arrives, it will be the officer’s word against yours. Your only chance at getting a 1st offense DUI in Wisconsin dropped or reduced is to hire a Milwaukee attorney experienced in DUI defense. From your 1st offense to your 2nd DUI conviction or 3rd DUI arrest, rely on the Milwaukee defense attorneys at Grieve Law.