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3rd Offense OWI in Wisconsin: 4 Scary Facts & 4 Ways to Fight

Wisconsin 3rd offense OWI penalties = jail time + revoked DL

With your third OWI offense, sentencing guidelines are much stronger 

You need a skilled OWI defense attorney who knows what issues to look for in your case, and has the resources to skillfully litigate for your best possible outcome. Attorneys at Grieve Law have a track record of successfully challenging mishandled DUI arrests to get 3rd OWI charges reduced or dropped.

A Third OWI conviction is serious – but there are ways to fight the charge

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1. It is WAY More than Just a Ticket

Being charged or arrested with a DUI for the third time in Milwaukee or anywhere else the state of Wisconsin is not to be taken lightly. According to the Wisconsin state police, you are considered a repeat offender, and the charges you face will be much greater than what they were during your first or second offense DUI charge.

When you’re charged with your third DUI offense, the rule that your last offense had to occur within ten years no longer applies. Your 3rd DUI conviction in Wisconsin includes any prior DUI convictions no matter when in your life they occurred.

Anyone with three DUI convictions is permanently subject to a PAC (prohibited alcohol concentration) of .02 in Wisconsin, even if the convictions happened in other states. At any time after your third DUI, if you are caught driving with a BAC of .02 or higher you can be charged with Operating with a PAC, 4th Offense (felony charge).

If you have been arrested multiple times for a DUI in Milwaukee or elsewhere within the state, there are several factors which may influence the severity of the penalties you face.

And then there are the added costs of a 3rd offense OWI in Wisconsin.

2. The Penalties Can Multiply

1st Offense DUI Lawyer MilwaukeeDepending on the circumstances of your third DUI, you could be facing felony charges, a fine of up to $4,000 and 2 years in jail. Felony charges may occur if a minor under the age of 16 was a passenger in the car you were driving at the time of your arrest. The charges you face may vary based on your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), and there are still a variety of other penalties you could be facing. These penalties could include jail time, license revocation, and a breathalyzer installed in your car (Ignition Interlock Device or IID) for up to 3 years.   

If you were arrested for a third DUI in Wisconsin with a BAC of .17 or higher, an Excessive BAC Escalator will be applied. This means that Wisconsin DUI penalties will double for you if your BAC was between .17 and .199, triple if your BAC was between .20 and .2499, and quadruple if it exceeded .25 BAC at the time of your arrest.

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3. You’re Facing Jail Time.

A third DUI conviction in Wisconsin means a minimum of 45 days in jail and a maximum of 1 year. The higher your BAC at the time of your arrest, the longer your sentence. Having a minor passenger under age 16 in the car doubles both the minimum and maximum jail time.

In some cases, people with third offense DUIs can qualify for Wisconsin Safe Streets, a program where repeat offenders can to go to drug and alcohol treatment in exchange for a reduced jail sentence. Do not count on these programs or even work release to impact your case. Application varies widely between districts.

Your best chance of reducing your jail time and other penalties is having an experienced DUI lawyer defending your case. Tom Grieve has a proven record of success reducing or even eliminating drunk driving charges for his clients.

4. Your License Will Be Revoked

When it's your third DUI offense, getting your license revoked or suspended comes with conviction. If, at the time of your arrest you refused to take a field sobriety test, police officers in the state of Wisconsin have the right to revoke your license right there on the spot for a length of up to 3 years. If there was a passenger under the age of 16 in the car at the time of your arrest, your license could be revoked immediately for up to 6 years.  

Will you be eligible for an occupational license? Maybe. In practice there are a number of factors in play which could impact your ability to retain a license. The officer in your case will try to soothe you into eating the charge and making the case sound as clear cut as possible. You’ll hear about the fine and sentence as though they are a done-deal, and the officer will start talking about occupational licenses and getting past the charge and on with your life. The officer does not have your best interests in mind. There are many circumstances which can impact the way your case plays out in court.

 You Are Only Guilty If You Are Convicted®

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Below are just a few examples of how our experienced Milwaukee DUI defense lawyer employs powerful and strategic defenses to get your DUI charges dropped or reduced:

Best DUI Defense Lawyer Milwaukee1. Illegal Stop

This is common. Perhaps you weren’t doing anything wrong. You hadn’t violated any traffic laws. You weren’t speeding. For some reason, the police stopped you and then ticketed you for driving under the influence. Without the stop, you wouldn’t be facing any problems. An experienced Milwaukee DUI lawyer can help prove when the police stopped you, it wasn’t just unlucky. It was illegal.

2. Incorrectly Conducted Field Sobriety Test

There are strict standards for field sobriety tests. Equipment has to be accurate. Procedures have to be properly and completely followed. Results have to be fully evaluated. Even if you were driving under the influence, if field sobriety tests were not performed or evaluated properly, you DO have a case!

3. The Chemical Test Was Not Done Properly

This happens more often than people think. There are strict professional standards for handling and processing these tests. Proper documentation is required. If the right procedures were not followed, you have a strong case for the DUI charges to be dropped. When other aspects come into play, failing a field test alone doesn’t mean you will lose your case in court.

4. Your Blood Alcohol Level When Driving Was Below the Legal Limit

Your BAC was above the legal limit – but not until later, when you were tested. In this case, you are not guilty of driving while intoxicated -- because you were not legally intoxicated when you were actually driving. This is called “the curve defense.”

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3rd Offense OWI Penalties

Penalties for Third DUI in Wisconsin

Third DUI Penalties Wisconsin

Updates strengthening the law and establishing harsher DUI penalties for a first or second OWI offense have been made more than 15 times since 1981. If you have been arrested for a third DUI in Milwaukee or elsewhere in the state, there are several factors which may influence the severity of the penalties you face.

BAC below 0.17

  • $600-$2,000 in fines
  • $435 “driver improvement” surcharge
  • 45 days to 1 year in jail
  • Driver’s license revocation for 2-3 years in addition to jail sentence
  • Ignition interlock device (IID) installed in vehicle for 1-3 years in addition to jail sentence

45 days after any conviction of a 3rd DUI, you may be eligible to apply for an occupational license. Before 45 days, there is no eligibility for an occupational license.

Some people may qualify for the Wisconsin Safe Streets option. The jail sentence for a third DUI in Milwaukee or elsewhere in Wisconsin can be reduced to as few as 14 days if you complete probation, including drug and alcohol treatment. Currently, Safe Streets reductions can only be applied once per lifetime.

Excessive BAC Escalator

  • BAC .17 to .199 - Penalties Double
  • BAC .20 to .2499 - Penalties Triple
  • BAC .25 or higher - Penalties Quadruple

Passenger under 16 Years Old

  • Felony 
  • $1,200-$4,000 in fines, plus surcharge
  • 90 days to 2 years in jail
  • License revocation & IID for 4-6 years in addition to jail sentence

Refused a Field Sobriety Test

Police have the authority to revoke your license on the spot for 1–3 years (up to 6 years if a passenger under the age of 16 is in the car).

Unlike other Milwaukee lawyers, Grieve Law is NOT a fee to plea lawyer™. What does this mean for you? It means Milwaukee criminal defense attorney, Grieve Law, never makes a plea deal with the court system because it is faster and easier. Instead, we fight tooth-and-nail over every shred of evidence and produce the most powerful and strategic defense to beat your drunk driving charges!

Don't trust your life to some general practice lawyer. DUI’s and criminal cases are not something that we do: they are basically everything that we do! Free no obligation consult with our team of award winning former state prosecutors for honest answers is just a call away.


Milwaukee Lawyer Tom Grieve Represents 3rd Offense OWI

When facing conviction for your third DUI, Tom Grieve is the attorney you want on your side. Tom is an experienced Milwaukee OWI attorney dedicated to helping clients get their DUI charges either reduced or eliminated. Offices are staffed by former prosecutors knowledgeable in the both the letter and practice of law – including the way things tend to play out in southeastern Wisconsin.

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Contact the Milwaukee lawyer representing DUIs now to schedule your FREE legal advice consultation with Tom Grieve.

By: Attorney Tom Grieve on 03/06/2020

Tom Grieve is a former prosecutor who now runs a successful Wisconsin criminal defense law firm with offices in Milwaukee, Waukesha and Madison. If are facing new charges initial phone consultations are free: contact online or call 262-786-7100.

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