7 Grim Realities Your 2nd Offense OWI in Wisconsin Makes You Face
Award-winning Milwaukee DUI lawyers on the hard truths of a second drunk driving offense. See also: Wisconsin OWI stats, 2nd OWI Penalties, OWI Homicide, and penalties for breathalyzer refusal in Wisconsin.
first offense drunk driving in Wisconsin, any second offense drunk driving must be a crime!1. Unlike
If you are arrested for a second offense OWI within 10 years of your first offense (either a first offense OWI or an implied consent violation, also called a refusal), you will be charged with a crime. This means if you are arrested, charged and convicted of a second offense DUI in Wisconsin you will always be convicted of a crime for the rest of your life. Whenever you apply for a job or seek a promotion and you get asked the question, “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” you must answer yes!
What makes this offense a crime as opposed to a citation? The penalties.
It only gets worse on a second offense OWI charge.
2. If convicted you face mandatory jail time on a second offense DUI in Wisconsin.
If convicted, the jail time penalty range on a 2nd offense OWI in Wisconsin is not less than five days or more than six months. This means that if you are convicted you must do at least five days of jail time, but the Judge is not allowed to sentence you to more than six months of jail time. A jail sentence can often result in people losing a job, whether or not a discharge or termination is legal. It can also result in, stigma from your friends at the next Milwaukee Brewer tailgate, and an awkward conversation starter next Thanksgiving. In addition to losing your job, many people also miss out on great life events. Many people in jail are sitting there while their child is at their graduation ceremony, or their spouse is left to juggle multiple children and a job throughout the entire sentence. Thanksgiving and Christmas will also happen even while you sit in jail, unable to celebrate with your loved ones. Jail itself is bad, but usually the penalties people don't think about are far worse.
That's not even saying anything about the added costs of a 2nd offense OWI in Wisconsin.
3. Almost no one gets the minimum five days
So you probably just read number two and thought, “Five days is not so bad. I can do five days in jail.” Unfortunately, around southeastern Wisconsin, extremely few people are sentenced to five days in jail. In fact, extremely few people get sentenced to even 10, 15, or 20 days jail. Don’t take my word for it, click on this link to consult the District Sentencing Guidelines. As you can see from reviewing those charts, there is a good chance that the minimum sentence is not going to be in the same ballpark of what a judge may be considering sentencing you to. Keep in mind, those are only judicial sentencing guidelines and are not rules. The Judge is always free to sentence you to whatever he or she wants, including the minimum. However, he or she could also sentence you to the maximum.
More likely than not, the prosecutor on your case will be trying to put you in jail for 30-90 days. Remember the prosecutors do not have the same guidelines or rules the Judges do and are free to ask for anything they believe is appropriate.
While Grieve Law is successful at getting many people out of their drunk driving charges so they are not facing any conviction and sentencing, we are also very successful at getting significantly reduced sentences and outcomes for clients. Just because you may fit into a certain sentencing category at first glance does not mean that outcome is locked in. Remember, you are only guilty if you are convicted and you will only be sentenced if you are found guilty.
4. Can I still keep my job and see my children while I am in jail?
Possibly. But just because your county has a Huber program is no guarantee you’ll be in it.
The Huber laws in Wisconsin allow for inmates to be transferred to a facility where they are allowed to leave during the day to either seek employment or maintain their job or perform child care services. Counties with Huber programs generally all have the same basic requirements for Huber release, which include:
- You must have a residence in the county
- You must have employment
- You must not have been convicted of any violent offense either now or in the past
Keep in mind that Huber is considered a privilege under the law and not a right you're entitled to. If your county has a Huber program, there must be enough beds available for them to accept you, but there are often limited budgets and resources in the system. Additionally, serving your jail sentence in a Huber facility with work release privileges comes at a cost. You must pay daily fees to the facility for the opportunity to serve your sentence with Huber release privileges. Most facilities require an up-front payment of several days or weeks’ worth of fees.
Inmates are expected to comply with many rules and conditions of work release which strictly control your movements, forbid alcohol and other controlled substances, and require at least one full day spent in jail each week.
If you are caught in violation of your Huber work release, you could lose your privileges and get transferred back to the main jail. You could even be charged with an additional crime for violating those rules. Don’t count on work release to make your jail sentence easier. A smarter move is hiring a DUI defense lawyer with a proven record of getting his clients' charges greatly reduced or even dismissed.
5. Isn’t there some kind of house arrest or electronic monitoring I can do instead of jail? The answer is a definite maybe.
Generally speaking, the requirements for electronic monitoring are similar to those for Huber release. The individual serving a sentence typically must have a residence in the county, must have employment, and must not have been convicted of any violent offense either now or in the past.
Since many electronic monitoring systems still rely on a landline phone, it can still be a requirement in various counties. Since “house arrest” is considered a privilege under the law, certain counties set conditions such as being employed within the county, or within a certain distance from your home. There are also very strict rules inmates must follow exactly, or lose their house arrest privileges and return to jail. There may also be fees associated with being on electronic monitoring that are usually required to be paid, at least partly, up front.
Electronic monitoring equipment can be very expensive, and different counties struggle with resource and budget issues. Even if you qualify for electronic monitoring, and the Sherriff’s department says you are eligible, there is no guarantee you will ever be released into house arrest. You may have to wait days, weeks, or even months for an electronic monitoring bracelet to become available.
6. Ignition Interlock Devices are Required!
Depending on when and how you obtained your first OWI in Wisconsin, you may not have had to deal with an ignition interlock device. However, if you are convicted of an OWI 2nd offense in Wisconsin, then you will have to install a breathalyzer in your car (also called an ignition interlock device or IID). That device will be on any vehicle titled or registered in your name as well as any vehicle you operate for a minimum of one year. Aside from the inconvenience and embarrassment that comes with having an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, there is also a very real financial burden.
Most ignition interlock device installers in Wisconsin will charge at least $1,000.00 for a year of service per vehicle. Sometimes, depending on your vehicle make or model and various other factors, $1,000.00 can easily turn into $2,000.00 or more. This means if you have multiple vehicles, you may be required to pay for and install multiple ignition interlock devices. Having an ignition interlock device installed is not only a requirement for you to apply for an occupational license after a conviction but can also be a requirement for you to be allowed to serve a sentence in Huber, depending on your county.
In addition to the financial costs of having an ignition interlock device, there are additional time costs as well. There are very strict requirements for maintaining the ignition interlock device in your car. You must have it calibrated frequently, and failure to do so can lead to additional criminal charges. And don’t forget, you must have an occupational license in place with available drive time in order to take your vehicle to the IID location to have the machine calibrated.
It is a crime under Wisconsin law for a person who is under an ignition interlock device order to operate any motor vehicle without an ignition interlock device installed. While there are a few notable exceptions able to be argued by a knowledgeable and skilled defense attorney, keep in mind you will be subjected to additional charges and an entirely new court process. Failure to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle can result in additional criminal charges that carry additional potential jail time, fines, and driver’s license revocation time.
7. Your prohibited alcohol concentration after your second offense will turn into .02%.
Everyone knows the legal limit for driving a car in Wisconsin is .08%. Some people know the legal limit turns to .02% if you have been convicted of enough drunk driving offenses. But hardly anyone knows that for as long as you have an ignition interlock device requirement on your driver’s license, your legal limit is .02%.
What is .02% blood alcohol concentration? For most people, it means one drink or less. This basically puts an absolute sobriety order on your driving. You can no longer have a beer with a friend or co-worker after work and then drive home knowing you'll be safe. One drink may be enough to put you over your legal limit of .02%.
What happens if you are over .02%? You can be charged with a criminal offense called Prohibited Alcohol Concentration as a third offense. It amounts to the same thing as being charged with drunk driving as a third offense and you are exposed to the same penalties. A quick snapshot of those penalties means if convicted you face up to one year in jail. Read more about 2nd offense OWI Penalties in Wisconsin. And do not think for one second the prosecutor will not charge you and seek a conviction because you blew a .025% or a .04%. You may be absolutely sober, you may have passed your fields, but you will still go to jail if convicted.
Lawyer Experienced in DUI Charges Details the Laws and Consequences of a 2nd Offense DUI
Unfortunately, 2nd offense DUIs in Wisconsin happen more frequently than they should. As experienced Milwaukee OWI lawyers, Grieve Law attorneys know how to investigate every avenue toward getting charges and penalties dropped or reduced.
Our Milwaukee Drunk Driving Lawyer Details the Consequences of a Second DUI Offense
If you get a 2nd DUI in Wisconsin, it’s always a criminal offense. Then you face massive fines and other serious consequences, including possible jail time (5 days to 6 months or more). As with all OWI Charges (whether you have a Wisconsin or Illinois driver’s license), 2nd offense DUI consequences vary depending on the facts of your case.
Here are the most common consequences people face with a second DUI offense:
- A ticket usually exceeding $800
- A $250 alcohol and drug assessment
- Driver safety plan that can cost upwards of $1,000
- Hundreds of dollars for an occupational license
- More money to reapply for your driver’s license
- Loss of your job if you have a commercial driver’s license or pilot’s license
- SR22 high-risk auto insurance (costing $95 to $200/month -- required by the state if you want an occupational license. You’re stuck because it replaces your existing insurance).
- Thousands of more dollars on higher auto insurance premiums
- Higher life insurance rates
- Higher health insurance rates
- Time off work to appear in court
- Vehicle impound fees
- Travel ban to Canada (forget those fishing trips) and problems traveling elsewhere (like the European Union).
These are huge consequences, many of them ongoing. Thousands of dollars in expenses far exceed what it would cost to retain an experienced attorney. When your job, money, reputation, and life are on the line you need an experienced, award-winning OWI law firm. Tom Grieve is not only recognized in the industry and among his peers, he is also recognized as a “Clients’ Choice” in legal knowledge, fierce representation, and powerful results.
The DUI Defense Attorney Wisconsin Trusts to Get DUI Charges Reduced or DISMISSED
Tom Grieve and the criminal defense lawyers of Grieve Law are the DUI defense attorneys Milwaukee and surrounding areas trust to get Wisconsin DUI charges reduced or eliminated completely.
With years of experience, including working as a prosecutor, Tom and the award-winning defense lawyers of Grieve Law have developed an unparalleled understanding of Wisconsin DUI law. Fee to Plea™ lawyers talk their clients into fast and easy plea deals, but the aggressive attorneys of Grieve Law steadfastly defend the rights of their clients.
When your court date arrives, it will be the officer’s word against yours. Don’t face your DUI charges alone. Grieve Law offers free consultations and flexible payment plans so you can afford the very best Wisconsin criminal defense lawyer.
You Are Only Guilty If You Are Convicted®