Fourth OWI in Wisconsin: How to Avoid a Felony Conviction and Prison Time
A fourth OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) offense in Wisconsin is a grave matter with severe legal consequences. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the penalties, defense strategies, and important information related to dealing with a fourth OWI conviction in the state of Wisconsin.
Fourth OWI in Wisconsin: Understanding Fourth OWI Penalties
A fourth OWI conviction is an automatic felony on your record, which results in significant mandatory penalties:
Jail Time for Fourth OWI in Wisconsin
- Fourth OWI offenses can lead to imprisonment ranging from 60 days to 6 years.
Fines for Fourth OWI in Wisconsin
- Conviction for a fourth OWI can result in fines of up to $10,000.
License Revocation for Fourth OWI in Wisconsin
- Your driver’s license will be revoked for a period of 2-3 years.
Lifetime License Revocation for Fourth OWI in Wisconsin
- If you have previously been convicted within 15 years, your driver’s license will be revoked for life, with no possibility of obtaining an occupational license.
Absolute Sobriety for Fourth OWI in Wisconsin
- If eligible for an occupational license, you will be required to maintain absolute sobriety during its use.
Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for Fourth OWI in Wisconsin
- Depending on eligibility, you may be required to install an IID for a period of 1-3 years.
Driver Improvement Surcharge for Fourth OWI in Wisconsin
- A ‘driver improvement’ surcharge of $435 will also apply.
Travel Restrictions for Fourth OWI in Wisconsin
- A conviction for a fourth OWI can result in a travel ban to Canada and difficulties traveling in the European Union.
It’s important to note that a felony conviction for a fourth OWI has far-reaching consequences, affecting your ability to vote, own firearms, and participate in government programs. It can also impact your employment opportunities and custody rights.
Enhanced Penalties for High BAC for Fourth OWI in Wisconsinn
If your blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of your fourth OWI arrest is .17 or higher, the penalties become even more severe. The enhanced penalties are as follows:
|BAC Range||Penalties||Incarceration||Max. Fine|
|.17 – .199||Double||120 days – 12 years||$20,000|
|.20 – .2499||Triple||180 days – 18 years||$30,000|
|.25 or greater||Quadruple||240 days – 24 years||$40,000|
Fourth OWI in Wisconsin with a Minor Passenger
If there was a minor under 16 years of age in your vehicle during your fourth OWI offense, the penalties increase significantly:
- Up to 12 years in jail
- Up to $20,000 in fines
- Driver’s license revoked for 4-6 years
- 4-6 years required ignition interlock device (IID)
- Absolute sobriety required for occupational license
Fourth OWI in Wisconsin Causing Injury
A fourth offense OWI that results in injury is considered a Class H felony, carrying 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
Fourth OWI in Wisconsin Causing Great Bodily Harm
For a fourth OWI conviction involving great bodily harm, the penalties are even harsher:
- 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
Fourth OWI Homicide in Wisconsin
A fourth OWI conviction involving homicide while intoxicated is classified as a Class C felony and carries 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
The Importance of Legal Representation for Your Fourth OWI in Wisconsin
Facing a fourth OWI offense in Wisconsin is a daunting situation, and it’s more crucial than ever to have an experienced DUI attorney by your side. An aggressive and knowledgeable Wisconsin drunk driving attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. Here are some key points to consider:
1. Felony Conviction
- A fourth OWI in Wisconsin is charged as a Class H felony under any circumstances. This is a significant change from previous laws, making all fourth OWI offenses felonies.
- A felony conviction has far-reaching consequences, including reduced job opportunities, loss of eligibility for federal assistance, travel limitations, loss of voting and firearm ownership rights, and more.
2. Jail Time
- A minimum of 60 days in jail is mandatory for a fourth OWI conviction, with a maximum sentence of up to 6 years. Excessive BAC or the presence of a minor passenger can lead to longer sentences, potentially up to 12 years or more.
3. License Revocation
- A fourth OWI conviction results in a minimum license revocation of 2-3 years. If your fourth OWI occurs within 15 years of a previous conviction, your license is revoked for life.
- While an occupational license is a possibility, it is not guaranteed and comes with strict requirements and expenses.
4. Elevated Conviction Risk
- If you already have three OWI convictions on your record, you are permanently subject to a prohibited alcohol concentration (PAC) of .02 in Wisconsin, even if prior convictions occurred in other states. This means you could be charged and convicted of operating with a PAC for the fourth time, even with a BAC below the legal limit.
FAQ: Common Questions About Fourth OWI in Wisconsin
How long does a fourth offense OWI stay on your record?
A felony fourth OWI remains on your Wisconsin driving and criminal record for life. Wisconsin’s lifetime look-back policy means that the time elapsed since your last drunk driving arrest does not affect the charge’s status.
How much does a fourth DUI cost?
The costs associated with a fourth DUI, including fines, surcharges, and mandatory alcohol and drug assessments, can easily exceed $15,000. Additional expenses such as impound fees, loss of work, ignition interlock device (IID) costs, high-risk auto insurance, and more can further increase the financial burden.
Can a fourth OWI conviction be expunged?
No, it is essentially impossible to expunge a drunk driving conviction in a Wisconsin court. Expungement, even if it were possible, only affects your public record, while the Department of Transportation (DOT) retains OWI offenses on your driving record indefinitely. Your best option is to hire an experienced drunk driving attorney to fight your fourth OWI charges.
Can you beat a fourth DUI?
While challenging, it is possible to have fourth DUI charges dismissed or reduced with the help of a skilled attorney. Success in such cases depends on the quality of the legal representation you receive.
How to Beat a Fourth Offense OWI
To fight a fourth OWI charge, you need a proactive approach and an attorney who is committed to your defense. Grieve Law attorneys are dedicated to mounting a strong defense on your behalf. Strategies may include:
- Challenging the legality of the traffic stop.
- Examining the accuracy and validity of field sobriety tests.
- Investigating mishandling or errors in chemical test results.
- Utilizing the rising blood alcohol defense if applicable.
- Exploring collateral attack strategies to reduce prior OWI convictions’ impact on sentencing.
Each drunk driving case is unique, and an experienced attorney can determine the best defense strategy tailored to your situation. If necessary, they can prepare your case for trial and work to have charges and penalties reduced.
Seek Legal Assistance from Dahlberg Law Group for Fourth OWI in Wisconsin
Dealing with a fourth OWI in Wisconsin is a challenging and potentially life-altering experience. To navigate this difficult situation effectively and protect your rights, it’s crucial to have experienced legal representation.
Attorney King Tse at Dahlberg Law Group specializes in DUI defense and can provide the guidance and advocacy you need. Our team of skilled attorneys understands the complexities of Wisconsin OWI laws and will work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
If you or someone you know is facing a fourth OWI charge, don’t hesitate to contact the lawyers at Dahlberg Law Group for expert legal assistance. Our commitment is to help you navigate this challenging time and protect your future.