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Penalties for OWI cases in Wisconsin

A conviction on any OWI offense comes with some amount of revocation time, a fine and an assessment for alcohol and other drug abuse, or AODA. Once the assessment is done, the assessor will make a recommendation as to what type of treatment needs to be done. Whether that is some sort of group class or individual therapy will depend on the person. Once an OWI is no longer a first offense under a blood alcohol concentration of .15, the ignition interlock device also becomes a requirement. That ignition interlock device can cost about $1000 over the course of a year between installation fees, maintenance fees, and uninstallation fees. 

Once an OWI offense becomes criminal, you are also facing jail time. Unfortunately, even if you are given a sentence with probation, there is no way around jail time. Jail can range anywhere from five days to years in prison depending on the number of offenses you have, your blood alcohol concentration, and many other factors that are reviewed. Some of those other factors include whether you have addressed treatment issues, whether there was an accident, whether you were respectful to the police, among many other things. In many cases, jail time can be served with what is called Huber release. This allows you to continue working, do treatment, or do things for child care. Some counties also offer electronic monitoring or house arrest, that would allow you to go to and from your job but from home. Once you are serving any sort of prison sentence, there is no release from the prison. 



OWI cases in Wisconsin

Whether an OWI in downtown Milwaukee is a first offense or a fifth offense, it is imperative that you have an aggressive OWI defense attorney by your side. There are so many issues from beginning to end that give the opportunity for something to go wrong with the police. It is very common that as soon as the police smell any sort of odor of alcohol, they jump straight into their investigation. There are also a lot of ways that the field sobriety test can be done incorrectly so as to create false positives when assessing how intoxicated someone is. These false positives can add up as clues that will lead to an arrest for OWI.  

During an OWI investigation, police will look at “the totality of the circumstances” to make a determination about whether somebody is intoxicated. When they first walk up to your window, they will look for things such as glassy eyes, slurred speech, or the odor of intoxicants. They will also make observations about any hand gestures, eye contact or any other things that might lead someone to believe that you might be intoxicated. 

If they believe that there is sufficient evidence to pull you out of the car for field sobriety tests, they will conduct three standard field sobriety tests. They are known as the horizontal gaze nystagmus, the nine-step walk and turn, and the one-leg stand. Police are trained to do these in a very methodical manner and theoretically, all police are trained to do these tests the exact same way. Based on the results of these tests, the police may do some additional testing, or they may do what is known as a PBT, or a preliminary breath test. This preliminary breath test is used to confirm or deny any suspicions that you may be intoxicated. If that number comes back over .08, they will take you into custody for operating while under the influence. Once police make their arrest, they will either request a breath or blood sample from you to get a reading of the amount of alcohol in your system. While the PBT helps confirm or deny an officer’s suspicions, that number is not admissible in court. The only alcohol level number that is permissible in court is the result of the breath test at the police department or blood test at the hospital. If you are under the legal drinking age (21), absolute sobriety is required to legally operate a vehicle. 


How long does an OWI stay on your record in Wisconsin?

Unlike other states, an OWI is not something that can be expunged or removed from your record. An OWI will stay on your driving and criminal record forever. Unless the case is dismissed or reduced to a different charge, the OWI will stick with you.

How to beat an OWI in Milwaukee

All of the phases of an OWI investigation are possible challenges to a case. You need to have an aggressive, well-educated OWI attorney with you in your case whether it is a first or eighth offense. You are only guilty if you are convicted!

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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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