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Drunk Driving Defense Attorney Racine office (Near the Village Center Strip Mall)

If you are convicted of an OWI in Racine or Kenosha, there are non-negotiable penalties.  These penalties are a driver’s license revocation, fines, Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse assessment along with any recommended treatment and 6 points on your license.  Also, most OWI’s have unavoidable jail time and require a breathalyzer (ignition interlock device) installed in your vehicle.  An OWI in Wisconsin can be anywhere from a ticket to a serious felony that has required time in prison.

Glenn Gaskill

OWI & Criminal Defense Attorney

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Racine & Kenosha OWI Lawyers

An OWI first offense, in Wisconsin, is a ticket.  There is neither mandatory jail time nor possible jail time so long as there was not an accident with an injury or a minor in the vehicle. Then it is not a criminal offense, but that does not mean the penalties associated with an OWI first are those you would get for a normal ticket. Not only will you be required to pay a fine and have points associated with your license, but your license will be revoked, you will be required to go to alcohol or drug treatment and you could be required to have a breathalyzer in your car.

2nd, 3rd, 4th Offense OWIs in Racine & Kenosha

A normal OWI second, having a prior within 10 years is a criminal misdemeanor. If convicted, a second OWI requires at least some time in jail with a minimum of 5 days and a maximum of 6 months.  The exception occurs when your prior OWI was more than 10 years ago, in that situation the OWI will be treated as a second-first offense OWI.  If you are convicted of a second-first offense OWI and are charged again, Wisconsin will count every offense after 1989.  Meaning there are scenarios where you could have 2 first offenses and then a third offense OWI, never being charged or convicted of a standard OWI second.

Being convicted of an OWI third offense enhances all the penalties that you face; longer mandatory jail time, longer maximum jail time, longer driver’s license revocation, and increased fines court costs and other penalties. The maximum jail time on a third offense OWI is 12 months in jail, making a third offense the highest misdemeanor OWI offense.

A felony OWI, fourth or greater offense has the potential of sending you to prison, for a maximum of 6 years. Not only can a fourth offense send you to prison, but if your previous OWI was within 15 years you face a lifetime license revocation without the possibility of an occupational license. You may be able to have your license reinstated after 10 years.

Additional OWI Penalties

Fines, jail or prison time, driver’s license revocation, vehicle breathalyzers and mandatory treatment are not the only penalties or impacts an OWI conviction will have on your life. 

  • You will have to carry high-risk insurance, SR-22, for a duration determined by the Department of Transportation
  • You can be denied entrance to Canada and some European Union countries 
  • You may not be able to rent a car or get a job requiring a clean driving record
  • If you have a CDL, you may lose it permanently

Following an OWI conviction, you must follow your requirements to the letter. If you fail to set up your AODA you can become ineligible for an occupational license. If you drive outside of your occupational license hours or without a required breathalyzer you can face criminal charges punishable by up to 12 months in jail.

How long does an OWI stay on your record?

Once convicted of an OWI it will stay on your record permanently.  While the law allows for an OWI to be expunged it is exceedingly rare for a court in Racine or Kenosha to grant such an expunction. Plus, an expunction seals your record it does not remove the conviction, the DMV and the police will still have the record of your OWI.  Put another way, the conviction is not going anywhere.

How to beat an OWI

Depending on the facts of your case the right lawyer can challenge why you were pulled over, why you were asked if you had been drinking, why you were asked to exit the vehicle, why you were asked to submit to a breathalyzer and finally why you were arrested.  Each step along an investigation of an OWI can be challenged by the right lawyer based on the facts specific to your case and each step has a different legal requirement that must be met by the prosecutor for the case to proceed.  Our award-winning Racine and Kenosha lawyers have the knowledge, experience and training necessary to challenge these cases on your behalf to get the best possible result, give us a call today.

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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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