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Drunk Driving Lawyer in Madison, Fitchburg, and South Central Wisconsin

In Madison, Wisconsin, first offense OWI penalties could include $150 to $300 in fines, a $435 surcharge and license revocation for 6 to 9 months. Madison OWI penalties escalate from misdemeanor to felony after the third offense.

Tom Grieve

OWI & Criminal Defense Attorney

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Fight DUI Penalties in Madison, Fitchburg, Verona, and throughout Wisconsin

In trying to make sure people don’t drink and drive in Wisconsin, penalties for drunk driving have become much more severe over the past 40 years. Even though your OWI 1st offense is not a criminal offense in Wisconsin, it still comes with life-changing penalties, including hefty fines, the revocation of your license, and traffic/alcohol safety courses. Learn more about DUI penalties in Wisconsin.

Learn More About Wisconsin Drunk Driving Charges:

95% of first time OWI offenders do not hire an attorney. Many believe that the cost of an attorney will be higher than the cost of their DUI. Studies have estimated that a DUI can cost 20 to 40 thousand dollars over your lifetime, between insurance rates, fines, and the possibility of losing your career. Getting a lawyer doesn’t seem so expensive now, does it?

Don’t worry. There’s still a way to get out of drunk driving charges.

Related: How long does a DUI stay on your insurance?

Counting Prior OWI Offenses in Wisconsin

The counting laws for OWI offenses in Wisconsin are complicated and are not as straightforward as you might think. If it has been more than 10 years since your first OWI, you may get cited with another OWI first offense. If you commit another OWI following that, it will be counted as a third.

3rd Offense OWI in Milwaukee

For example, if you got convicted of a DUI first offense in Fitchburg in 2000 and a 2nd offense in Madison in 2013, these two offenses are more than 10 years apart. Unless there was something unusual about the second charge, the OWI 2nd will be charged as a second because the offense occurred more than 10 years after the first and only OWI. We call this a second, first offense, where the driver was given penalties for a first offense twice. This way, no jail time will be served for either OWI.

However, if you got convicted of both offenses in 2000 and 2013 and then were pulled over and cited for OWI in Madison again today, this would be an OWI third. Even though both of your previous offenses were firsts, 3rd offense OWIs have a “lifetime look back.” This means that any OWI since 1989 (1989 is when the Wisconsin OWI laws were changed) counts as a prior OWI conviction. Therefore, you would have been convicted of an OWI 1st in 2000, OWI 1st in 2013, and now you are facing an OWI 3rd for your newest incident.

4th Offense OWI in Milwaukee

Things are even more complicated when it comes to a fourth offense (Wisconsin 4th DUI penalty).  If you are pulled over and cited for drunk driving after your third offense, you will be facing a 4th offense, which is a Class H Felony in Wisconsin. A fourth offense is also a lifetime look back, so it does not matter how long ago your third offense was.

All OWI or refusal offenses in Wisconsin are counted as prior offenses in a lifetime look back. Regardless of where you were convicted of those offenses, whether they are in Fitchburg, Madison, or Verona, or anywhere else in Wisconsin, they all count in the “lifetime look back.”

Make sure that you trust your future to an experienced, knowledgeable attorney. Do not trust it to a general practice lawyer, or a Fee to Plea! OWIs are not just something we do, it is basically all we do. A free consultation with one of our award winning team of attorneys is just a phone call away.

Crimes and Offenses Commonly Paired with OWIs

There are other offenses that are very commonly paired with OWI offenses. For example, if your breath or blood came back with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over 0.08%, you will receive a prohibited alcohol concentration ticket. If you driver with a revoked driver’s license either without an occupational or outside your hours, you can be charged with operating after revocation. Say you were not very polite to the officer who pulled you over or things got verbal: disorderly conduct. Did you refuse a blood test? Implied consent violation. Did you have a gun in your pocket when you got pulled over for OWI? Even if you are properly registered and licensed, you can be charged with possession of a firearm while intoxicated. Did you jump bail in Wisconsin?

If you got a DUI and one of these or any other related offense, you need an attorney who has experience with all types of alcohol-related offenses and will fight for you.  

You never thought it would happen, that it could happen, but now it has. Either you or someone you love has been charged with a DUI in Madison. Technically they are called OWI, but many people call them DUI or drunk driving. Maybe this isn’t the first time you’ve been charged and now you could have a repeat charge. Regardless of your situation, it is imperative that you have an experienced, successful attorney who is familiar with how to beat DUI cases. Free initial OWI consultation.

Our Madison DUI defense lawyers work on cases such as:

Contact Grieve Law for an initial consultation.

Learn more about DUI Statistics in Wisconsin

The clock on the successful outcome of your case begins ticking the second you or your loved one is released from custody with a pile of paperwork. You may have to be in court the day after you get arrested and they could happen months after you get arrested. Either way, you want to get in to see and consult with an award-winning attorney as soon as possible.


Provided by a Madison OWI Attorney

Grieve Law LLC provides free case consultations for all DUI related offenses in Wisconsin. During the initial consult, our Madison OWI attorneys will review your case closely and talk to you about your options. After your free consultation, your attorney will work through the evidence and determine the best way to defend your case. After we establish that defense, we will explain the process, your rights through the process, and your expectations moving forward.

Why Legal EXPERIENCE Matters Most

You want an experienced DUI attorney who knows why the specific details are an important part of your case. There are inexperienced prosecutors who do not have the knowledge or experience to see the weaknesses in their case, and we can point it out. An experienced criminal defense attorney will help you navigate the system through prosecutors and judges in your county. Our legal defense of your case begins with you and your debrief of what happened. We can then pull in private investigators or other witnesses who may provide that successful defense in your case. We will do what it takes to help you beat or reduce your charges.

The DUI Lawyer Madison Trusts for a Powerful Defense and Proven Results

Grieve Law LLC has the experienced DUI lawyer Madison, WI and surrounding areas trust for a thorough Wisconsin DUI defense and a great record of DUI dismissals and drunk driving charge reductions. Grieve Law LLC has a great record and it is not surprising given our award-winning team of former prosecutors that Wisconsin Trusts.

Dane County Criminal Defense Lawyers Defend Rights at Reasonable Rates

Wisconsin OWI charges can impact your well-being, your family, your job, and your bank account. When you are charged with an OWI in Madison or anywhere in Wisconsin, you can’t risk potential job loss, loss of driving privileges, your personal time in court, alcohol classes, and a slew of other penalties. You need an attorney. You need Grieve Law LLC.

Don’t trust your money, time, and livelihood to another Madison lawyer; choose the Dane County criminal defense attorneys with a reputation for winning. Whatever your budget, Grieve Law LLC offers reasonable payment plans and will work with you to arrange them. Get the Wisconsin DUI defense you want at rates you can work with.

Whether you were on probation and got a DUI in Madison or your life is over because of a 4th offense felony in Verona, make sure you turn to the Madison attorneys with experience and successful outcomes in drunk driving charges.

How long does an OWI stay on my record?


The hard fact is that roughly 95% of first time offenders do not hire an attorney, and 99% of second time offers do hire an attorney. But, had those first-time offenders hired an experienced DUI attorney, they may not be dealing with a second offense. Studies have shown that even one DUI offense can cost anywhere from 20 to 40 thousand dollars over your lifespan. There are other negative consequences as well, and they include:

  • Permanent travel ban to Canada and other countries (it is possible to beat this, but that will cost even more money).
  • Insurance premiums can double. SR-22 insurance will be required, which is a type of insurance for vehicle liability that is mandatory for Wisconsin Drivers with a DUI, the insurance companies will now consider you high risk, and that’s expensive!
  • You might be required to go to alcohol classes or sessions.
  • You will have to pay upwards of $1000.00 to install a breathalyzer in your car, also called an ignition interlock device or IID. If a loved one has to share this car with you, they will have to use it as well. They may also require it be installed on other vehicles as well.
  • You may be required to wear a monitoring device or call in every morning at 9AM with Wisconsin Community Services.
  • Once you are charged, if you do not file the necessary paperwork within 10 calendar days, you could lose your license for months, regardless of whether you have been proven guilty. This is known as either an Administrative Suspension Notice of Intent to Revoke operation.
  • Operating a motor vehicle after revocation and outside the hours outside of your occupational license means you could face jail time.
  • If you are a pilot or have your commercial driver’s license (CDL), your career could be permanently jeopardized.

*Wisconsin is the only state that does not consider a first DUI offense to be criminal. HOWEVER, if you are filling out employment paperwork for a job who may have offices out of state, they may consider it a criminal offense. In some cases involving a first offense, you may have had a minor in the vehicle, or someone got injured or even killed – this makes a DUI first offense criminal. You are in trouble and are facing mandatory jail time.  

"...95% of 1st DUI offenders do NOT get an attorney."

How to Beat a Drunk Driving Charge in Wisconsin

  1. Be Aware of Time Limits
    When you are arrested for an OWI, you will receive an Administrative Notice of Intent to Suspend. If you don’t file a response with the Department of Transportation within 10 calendar days to schedule a hearing for that notice, the DOT could suspend your license for 6 months. Your attorney can certainly do it to ensure that it is done properly.
  2. Call Our Madison Drunk Driving Defense Attorney
    It is important to contact an OWI attorney right away. There are often very short deadlines to meet right after you are charged. Court may be the next day, or it could be weeks later. The earlier you talk to a defense attorney, the better chance you have of getting your charges reduced or even dismissed.
  3. Attend Our FREE Legal Consultation
    When you first meet with our DUI attorneys, they will explain the process and walk through what your expectations can be of the court system. Our award-winning attorneys have experience not only with defending these cases, but many were former prosecutors as well, so they know both sides of the system and the other side’s weaknesses. The attorneys can assess the information we are given about your case to find the weaknesses in your case. We can find the mistakes made when handling the stop, arrest, and other processes. If the stop was bad or the fields were done poorly, your case can be easily dismissed.  
  4. Build a Powerful Defense
    Our award winning attorneys obtain all pertinent information from your case by way of police reports and other evidence such as body camera footage. We are known for our aggressive defenses with DUI cases and if there is something to be done about the case, we will get it done. The experience that the attorneys have will show you all of your options and the best way to proceed with your case.
  5. Go to Your Scheduled Court Date
    Court appearances can happen the day after your arrest or they can happen months down the road. Either way, our award winning attorneys will walk you through how to present yourself during your hearings and at trial. We can challenge the results of the fields, breathalyzer, and blood draw and find any mistakes the police officers made for your case. These can lead to the case being reduced or dismissed all together.  

We have a proven record of success with criminal defense and OWI charges in Madison, Fitchburg, Verona, and all over Wisconsin. Whether this is your first or fifth offense, you need to contact the award-winning attorneys at Grieve Law as soon as possible. Be sure to schedule a free consultation and find out how to get out of your DUI charges with our help and experience.  

Contact our DUI lawyers in Madison, WI for a free Wisconsin DUI legal consultation.


Schedule a Free Consultation

We know
because we were prosecutors.

Tom Grieve, the firm's managing attorney and founder, is a former state prosecutor and is not the only ex-prosecutor at the firm. We love hiring attorneys from both sides of the wall to bring as many perspectives to fight your case as aggressively as possible. The State of Wisconsin likes it when you choose the run-of-the-mill fee to plea™ lawyers who don't even know how to analyze and defend cases instead of experienced criminal attorneys:

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