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Third Offense OWI Attorneys Racine office (near the Village Center Strip Mall)

If convicted of a third offense OWI in Racine or Kenosha, you must spend at least 45 days or up to 1 year in jail, pay fines between $600 and $2,000 and have your driver’s license revoked between 2 to 3 years in addition to the time you spent in custody.

Glenn Gaskill

OWI & Criminal Defense Attorney

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OWI 3rd Offense Penalties

An OWI 3rd offense in Racine or Kenosha is a serious offense with significant penalties. In addition to jail time and fines, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in any vehicle registered or titled in your name, complete a mandatory Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) assessment along with any recommended treatment and 6 points assessed to your license.  Following your conviction, you will be unable to drive for any reason for 45 days.  After your 45-day license lockout, you will be able to obtain an occupational license from the DMV so long as you have an IID installed and SR-22 insurance.  Following a conviction on a third offense, you have a new alcohol limit of 0.02 instead of the normal 0.08.  Essentially, if you are driving you cannot have had anything at all to drink.

An OWI 3rd offense is the last OWI offense that still qualifies as a misdemeanor, any additional OWI charges will be felony offenses (a maximum penalty on a felony offense is time in prison instead of jail). As it is the highest misdemeanor OWI, it also has the highest misdemeanor penalties; 1 year in jail. Beyond the fines, jail time, IID and other penalties listed above there are additional fees that can become significant:

  • fees to get and alter an occupational license 
  • AODA and treatment fees
  • cost of SR-22 insurance and the hike in your insurance rates when SR-22 is no longer required
  • fees to install, calibrate and maintain an IID

Release Privileges

The mandatory minimum sentence of 45 days on an OWI 3rd offense, requires that you be in custody for that sentence.  However, the court can make you eligible to serve your sentence with Huber release privileges allowing you to go to and from work, treatment appointments, doctor’s appointments and school.  You are required to the time not needed for your release in custody, so with a full-time job often you are spending your nights in jail.  Additionally, there is a limit as to how many hours a day you can be released and how many days a week; you can petition the court to change these limits (if you work 12-hour days for example).  If you violate the rules of your Huber release, your privileges will be revoked, and you will have to spend the rest of your time in custody (for example reporting to Huber with alcohol in your system).

OWI Treatment Programs in Racine & Kenosha

Racine and Kenosha offer special programs for people who are facing an OWI 3rd or greater offense, commonly referred to as alcohol treatment court. The benefit of being a part of the program is it greatly reduces the amount of time you spend in jail immediately following your conviction, however, as with anything with the benefit there is a trade-off. By entering into treatment court, you are agreeing to longer and a much more in-depth duration of supervision, and violations during supervision can result in additional time in jail. Just because treatment court is offered by the county, does not mean that you are guaranteed to be admitted into treatment court. There is an application process, often a waiting list and the prosecutor must offer you enrollment in alcohol treatment court. Choosing to enter into treatment court is not a simple decision as the amount of time and effort required to be successful is not insignificant and those who are unsuccessful face substantially longer sentences than if they had not been in treatment court, not to mention you would have to admit that you are guilty of your OWI 3rd offense.

How long does a third OWI stay on your record?

If you are convicted of an OWI 3rd in Racine or Kenosha, it will be on your record for the rest of your life.  An OWI 3rd does not fall off your record after any period of time, so if it asked about it on job applications, housing applications, loans or other licenses you will need to disclose your conviction as it will be visible.  

How to beat a third offense OWI

Wisconsin has a law that makes negotiating down an OWI 3rd charge based on your character or history infeasible.  The law states that in order for a prosecutor or judge to dismiss or amend an OWI offense, the dismissal or amendment must be in the public's interest.  Effectively this makes negotiations to remove an OWI charge doubtful.  To successfully fight against an OWI 3rd offense in Racine or Kenosha, you must hire the right attorney to review the evidence, how it was obtained, and devise a strategy to fight against that evidence.  An OWI 3rd offense requires that a prosecutor prove that you drove or operated a motor vehicle on a public highway, while under the influence of an intoxicant, and with two prior offenses on your record.  Challenging either the evidence or how it was obtained can remove the necessary proof for the prosecutor to prove their case.

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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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