What You Need to Know About Wisconsin's New 4th OWI Law
As of January 1, 2017, all 4th offense OWI’s are felonies.
Prior to this date, your 4th offense OWI would be a misdemeanor if your last OWI conviction was more than 5 years before your 4th offense. Your 4th offense would be a felony if you had a conviction for another OWI offense within 5 years of the date of your 4th offense. Back in the 1990s, even people with over a dozen DUI convictions may only face misdemeanor charges as long as nobody was seriously hurt or killed.
Times have changed. Now, the length of time between your 3rd offense and 4th offense is irrelevant. A 4th OWI offense is always a felony in Wisconsin.
This is important because the penalties for a misdemeanor offense and a felony offense vary greatly.
On a misdemeanor 4th offense OWI, you faced several potential penalties. You would be sentenced to pay a fine between $600 and $2000. Your driver’s license would be revoked for a period of one to three years, you would be required to have an ignition interlock device for one to three years, and you would not be entitled to an occupational license for the first 45 days of your revocation. Additionally, you would face a jail sentence of 60 days to 1 year.
Under the new law, your 4th offense OWI is a Class H Felony and carries the following penalties:
- You will be sentenced to pay a fine between $600 and $10,000
- Your driver’s license will be revoked for life with no chance of an occupational license if your conviction is within 5 years of your previous OWI
- You will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed for one to three years
- You will not be entitled to an occupational license for the first 45 days of your revocation
Additionally, a felony 4th offense OWI carries a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 60 days, up to 6 years of imprisonment. This is the biggest and most significant change in the OWI 4th offense law.
Learn More About Wisconsin Drunk Driving Charges:
- Penalties for 1st offense OWI in Wisconsin
- Penalties for 2nd offense OWI in Wisconsin
- Penalties for 3rd offense OWI in Wisconsin
- Penalties for 4th offense OWI in Wisconsin
- Penalties for 5th offense OWI in Wisconsin
Wisconsin DUI Lawyers Defend Against 4th OWI Charges
If you find yourself facing felony charges thanks to Wisconsin’s new 4th OWI law, you need an award-winning team of attorneys to help put you in the best position to protect your freedom. Contact our team of former state prosecutors for a free consultation.
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