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How long does an OWI stay on your record in Wisconsin?

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An OWI Stays on Your Record For Life

Insurance rate increases can be quite steep and the judge may order you to carry an SR-22. Most providers will likely consider you to be a “high-risk driver” if you have a DUI conviction, even if you have a perfect record otherwise. It does not matter if you have never had an accident before in your life. In fact, some insurance companies may refuse to insure you at all if you have been convicted of drunk driving. If you have had a DUI in the past, insurance companies may consider you an even higher risk and could increase your rates even further.

An OWI Can Affect your Auto Insurance Rates for About Five Years

After several years have passed since your first offense OWI and your insurance rate lowers, it will be extremely important to maintain a clean driving record. If you have had more than two DUIs, Wisconsin has a lifetime look-back policy and will count previous DUIs as prior offenses no matter how much time has passed between them. With multiple DUIs on your record, you can anticipate not only steep insurance rates but also lengthy license revocation periods, not to mention thousands of dollars in fines and years of jail time.

There is no simple “trick” to rescuing your finances when you have had a DUI. However, you may qualify for certain discounts on your insurance. For example, your provider may be more favorable if you can keep your driving record clean for five years, if you are over 55, if you enroll in driver safety courses, or if your car is equipped with certain features, such as anti-lock brakes. Learn more about OWI penalties in Wisconsin.

What is an SR-22?

An SR-22 is a form that certifies you have sufficient insurance when you are considered a high-risk driver, such as after an OWI. Your insurance provider submits the SR-22 to the DMV. If you have been convicted of a DUI, the judge may order you to carry an SR-22. You will then contact an insurance agent who will assist you. The DMV will receive the SR-22 and keep it on file for the necessary period of time.

Can I submit the SR-22 Form Myself?

Please note that you cannot submit the SR-22 to the DMV yourself. This is not allowed in order to prevent fraud – you must go through an insurance company. This can present a problem, because in some cases your provider may cancel your policy if you have a DUI on your record. In this situation, you will have to shop around for another provider.

Some insurance companies’ marketing suggests that “SR-22” is a type of insurance. This causes confusion because the term properly refers to the certificate, not the insurance. What those companies are offering is a type of insurance geared toward high-risk drivers, typically at a much higher rate. Companies offering “SR-22 insurance” are also letting you know that they will file the SR-22 with the DMV.

Unfortunately, having a DUI on your record may cause your insurance rates to increase steeply, whether or not the plan you purchase is explicitly advertised as “SR-22 insurance.” The way to avoid this is to keep your DUI off your record by fighting it in court.

Wisconsin’s OWI Attorneys are Here to Help You

Wisconsin is the only state to classify a first offense DUI as a civil offense. Every other part of the country counts it as a crime, which means that you could have serious problems if you ever want to move out of state. Potential employers will see your offense and may misinterpret it as a criminal record. What seems like a relatively minor issue right now is actually a serious blemish to your good name which will follow you for the rest of your life.

Keep both your criminal record and your driving record clean by hiring an experienced drunk driving attorney at Grieve Law. We consider each case to be unique, and we will leave no stone unturned in providing you with an aggressive criminal defense. Learn more about Wisconsin OWI penalties.

Contact Wisconsin’s OWI attorneys today to help you keep your driving record clean.


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