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First OWI Offense Brookfield-Waukesha office just off Bluemound

First offense OWI penalties in Brookfield, Wisconsin are license revocation for 6-9 months, $150 to $300 in fines and the possibility of a sobriety program for 1 year. A $435 OWI surcharge is also added.

In 2020, Waukesha County made 1,337 OWI related arrests. Of these, only 23% (308) arrests were made in the city of Waukesha.

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first offense OWI in Waukesha or Brookfield carries mandatory penalties including a driver’s license revocation between 6 and 9 months, a forfeiture between $150 and $300, Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) assessment, and 6 points on your driver’s license.  If your alcohol concentration is above a .15, you will also be required to have an ignition interlock device for 1 year. 

First Offense OWI in Waukesha or Brookfield

In most states, a first offense Operating While Intoxicated offense is a crime. However, in Wisconsin, a first offense OWI is a non-criminal, civil citation. This means that even if you are convicted, you cannot be sentenced to serve any jail time. Also, if you are answering questions on a job application or professional licensing application, you can truthfully answer that your OWI 1st offense conviction is not a criminal conviction. This is great news if you live and work in Brookfield or Waukesha.

However, just because Wisconsin treats your first offense OWI as a citation does not mean that other states will. Each state will evaluate your prior record based on their own standards, and just because it is not a crime in Brookfield or Waukesha does not mean that it will not be treated like a criminal conviction if you move to another state. Because of this, it is very important that you take advantage of your only opportunity to fight your OWI 1st offense in Waukesha.

In addition to the up-front costs of an OWI conviction, there are additional financial penalties that come following a conviction. If you want to be able to drive for work during your revocation time, you must get a Wisconsin occupational license. The DMV will charge you a fee for that occupational license. You will also have to get an SR-22 certificate. Costs for SR-22 can be hundreds of dollars every month. If you are ordered to have an ignition interlock device, those can cost around $1,000 per year, in addition to the added inconvenience of having to have the machine calibrated every 60 days. A person who is convicted of an OWI can have total costs well in excess of $10,000 or more over the next few years following the conviction.

There are many other penalties associated with a first offense OWI that most people are not aware of when they consider whether they need an attorney to represent them. A conviction for a first offense OWI will likely cause problems with your ability to travel outside the United States, specifically to Canada and certain European Union countries. It can also impact your car insurance rates for many years and can impact your ability to rent a car or drive a company vehicle for work.

Additionally, even though a first offense OWI does not carry jail time as a possible punishment, many people find themselves facing jail time for failing to jump through all the necessary hoops following a conviction. Although you cannot be sentenced to jail for your OWI 1st offense in Brookfield or Waukesha, you can be sentenced to jail time if you are convicted of Operating After Revocation, Failure to Install an Ignition Interlock Device, and other similar offenses. In short, is it not just a ticket. 

How long does a first offense OWI stay on your record in Waukesha County?

In Brookfield and Waukesha, a first offense OWI remains on your record for life. However, if you get arrested for another OWI offense, and if you only have one prior conviction for OWI, Wisconsin will only look at your record for the past 10 years. If there are more than 10 years between your first and second offense OWI, Wisconsin will treat your second OWI as another first offense.  

If you have more than one OWI conviction, then Wisconsin has a “lifetime lookback”, meaning your entire record from January 1, 1989 forward will be reviewed for OWIs. Any convictions you have in that time frame will be counted and you will face a criminal level OWI in Waukesha or Brookfield. 


How to beat an OWI 1st Offense

Beating an OWI is no easy task. Having the right attorney on your side is key to avoiding the penalties associated with an OWI 1st offense. To prove an OWI offense in Waukesha or Brookfield, the prosecutor must show that you operated a motor vehicle on a public highway in Wisconsin while under the influence of an intoxicant such that it rendered you unsafe to operate your vehicle. In Wisconsin, there is a state statute that prohibits prosecutors and judges from reducing or dismissing an OWI unless it is not against the public interest to do so. Basically, this means that we have to convince the prosecutor that they cannot prove the case against you.

In order to do this, you must have an attorney who knows all the details of OWI law and also knows how to apply the law to the facts of your case to reach a favorable outcome. A thorough review of all the police reports, squad video, body cam, and other evidence in your case will show what issues exist and give us a path to move forward with defending against the charges. Each step in the process of an OWI investigation in Waukesha or Brookfield has a specific legal standard that must be met. If that standard is not met, it is possible that evidence obtained can be ruled inadmissible against you. Without admissible evidence, the prosecutor will likely not be able to prove the case against you.

Successfully going through this process requires a skilled and knowledgeable attorney to thoroughly evaluate the evidence in your case. Our team of experienced, award-winning attorneys can walk you through each step of your case and find any issues that give you an opportunity to beat your charge.

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