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5th Offense OWI in Wisconsin: 5 Ways to Challenge Your Charges

Facing the Sobering Reality of a Fifth OWI Charge

Felony Drunk Driving is a serious charge in any state. As of January 1, 2018, Wisconsin enacted a new law which greatly increases the penalties for anyone convicted of multiple drunk driving offenses. 

Conviction of a fifth drunk driving offense now means you are found guilty of a Class G felony. Other crimes classified as a Class G felony include third degree sexual assault, embezzlement, and negligent homicide.

Don’t let a serious charge turn into an even more serious conviction without a fight. When you’re facing a 5th OWI charge, you can’t afford NOT to call a lawyer.

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Wisconsin 5th offense OWI felony penalties START at 6+ months in prison

Your 5th OWI offense in Wisconsin is a Class G felony charge with very severe penalties

In 2017 when a 4th OWI became a felony offense in Wisconsin, the penalties for higher repeat offense OWI charges also increased. A fifth or a sixth DUI offense is now an automatic Class G felony (formerly Class H), which means longer prison sentences, bigger fines and mandatory minimum penalties.

5th OWI Penalties

As of 2017, a 5th offense OWI in Wisconsin is a Class G felony charge carrying extremely severe penalties:

  • 6 months to 10 years in jail 
  • Driver’s license revoked 2-3 years
  • Driver’s license revoked for life with no possibility of occupational license if previously convicted within 15 years
  • Up to $25,000 in fines
  • 1-3 years required ignition interlock device, if eligible
  • Absolute sobriety required for occupational license, if eligible
  • Travel ban to Canada and problems traveling abroad in European Union

5th OWI + minor under 16

A fifth offense OWI with a minor under 16 in the car increases the penalties:

  • Up to 20 years in jail
  • Up to $50,000 in fines
  • Driver’s license revoked 4-6 years
  • 4-6 years required ignition interlock device (IID)
  • Absolute sobriety required for occupational license

5th OWI + excessive BAC

If your BAC is .17 or higher at the time of your fifth OWI arrest, penalties escalate:

  • BAC .17 to .199 – penalties double
  • BAC .20 to .249 – penalties triple
  • BAC .25 and higher – penalties quadruple

5th OWI causing harm

A fifth offense OWI causing injury is a Class H felony charge with additional penalties:

  • Up to 6 years in prison
  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • Penalties double if the injured person was under 16 years old

A conviction for fifth OWI causing “great bodily harm” is a Class F felony with even harsher penalties:

  • Up to 12.5 years in prison
  • Up to $25,000 in fines
  • Penalties increase if a pregnant woman (unborn child) was in the vehicle

A fifth offense OWI conviction for Homicide While OWI is a Class C felony with the following penalties:

  • Up to 40 years in prison
  • Up to $100,000 in fines
  • Penalties increase if a pregnant woman (unborn child) was in the vehicle

After 5 DUI convictions in Wisconsin, the charges and penalties become extremely serious:

Consequences of a Felony Drunk Driving Conviction

A 5th DUI conviction in Wisconsin is a very serious event affecting every aspect of your life, for the rest of your life, including:  

  • Employment opportunities
  • Custody of your children
  • Travel abroad
  • Eligibility for security clearance or other professional licenses
  • Ability to join the armed forces
  • Finding housing

5th Offense OWI Penalties

You face years of close supervision, even after being released from prison, and you can’t vote again until two years after your probation ends. Important personal relationships suffer, and you no longer have the legal right to own a firearm.

Living with felony drunk driving charges hanging over your head can be very stressful and may even evoke feelings of helplessness or despair. All you can do now is fight to defend yourself against the charges.

Don’t waste time on message boards not knowing if the information you are reading is even true or able to help you at all. Every drunk driving arrest is different, and only an experienced DUI attorney can evaluate your case and make a recommendation on the best way to proceed. Grieve Law has a record of successfully defending clients charged with felonies all across Wisconsin. 

You are innocent until you are convicted™

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.


Penalties and Sentencing for Your 5th OWI in Wisconsin

The potential penalties for a 5th DUI conviction in Wisconsin are extremely harsh. 5th OWI charge Wisconsin

Your minimum sentence after a fifth DUI conviction will mean at least 6 months in prison, a fine of $600, or both.

The maximum sentence you could receive after a fifth DUI conviction is up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $25,000, or both. See all the costs of a 5th offense OWI in Wisconsin.

The circumstances of your repeat drunk driving case will determine the specifics of your fine and prison time. If you have any prior convictions, your imprisonment term may increase by up to 2 years for a misdemeanor and up to 6 years for a felony.

Your drunk driving penalties and fines can be multiplied if there was a minor under the age of 16 in the car with you, or if your BAC tested at .17 or higher.

If the unthinkable happens and someone is killed while you are driving under the influence, you’ll be charged with vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, or Homicide by Intoxicated Use of Vehicle. The penalties for OWI homicide are, as you might expect, much more severe.

All this, of course, is on top of the SR22 insurance requirement, revocation of your driver’s license, ignition interlock on your vehicle once you can drive again, and a mandatory alcohol assessment program, which are common consequences beginning with your 2nd OWI offense in Wisconsin.

The stakes are higher than ever for anyone facing a 5th OWI charge in Wisconsin. Don’t risk having the maximum sentence handed down without calling Milwaukee’s experienced DUI lawyer to weigh in on your case. 

You Are Only Guilty If You Are Convicted®

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5th OWI Defense Strategies

DUI arrests involve a lot of subjectivity and steps you must follow to the letter. The details of your arrest may provide opportunities to defend your case. Your experienced DUI lawyer builds your defense by exploring the following:

  1. Was your traffic stop legal?
  2. Was the request for a sobriety test or breath test justified?
  3. Did the officer have probable cause to arrest you? 
  4. Were you detained for an undue amount of time during your arrest? 
  5. Are the chemical tests admissible and/or accurate?

An experienced DUI attorney knows exactly how the devices used for chemical tests work and all the ways the administration of the test or mechanics of the device can be challenged. A medical condition can also have an effect on the test results.

Your experienced Milwaukee DUI attorney will review:

  • Audio recording of the dispatch during your arrest
  • Video recordings of your vehicle being operated; your field sobriety test; and your trip in the squad car
  • Details of what happened after you arrived at the police station
  • All the reports made by the arresting officer
  • Certifications for the chemical test devices and the person operating them

Experienced DUI Attorney MilwaukeeAdditional information may prove relevant to your defense, including any health conditions (such as PTSD) you may have or had, all documents associated with your arrest, and possibly more.

The enormous repercussions of a felony drunk driving conviction mean you need to give your case every advantage you can. Our aggressive attorneys will find and use every possible legal loophole and defense angle in YOUR favor.

Milwaukee’s Award-Winning DUI Lawyer Fights Felony Convictions

If you’re facing your 5th DUI offense in Wisconsin, it’s imperative to have an experienced drunk driving lawyer fighting for your defense. Tom Grieve is a former prosecutor and an experienced Wisconsin OWI lawyer who understands the law AND the strategies of the prosecution—including their weaknesses. 

Grieve Law knows how to fight drunk driving charges and has a proven record of success getting drunk driving charges reduced or dropped. 

Our team of attorneys fights to win cases where lesser lawyers are content collecting a fee to plea™. Schedule a free case evaluation and find out how Milwaukee’s award-winning criminal defense law firm can help you.

Contact Milwaukee’s Award-Winning DUI Defense Lawyer for a Free Initial Consultation

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