Second OWI in Wisconsin: Feel Better Knowing Actionable Steps to Take to Minimize Jail Time and a Conviction
If you’re facing your second OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) conviction in Wisconsin, you’re in a serious legal situation. This blog will provide you with essential information on the penalties, consequences, and options available to you.
Second OWI in Wisconsin: Second OWI Penalties
A second OWI in Wisconsin carries severe penalties if convicted:
- Jail Time: You can face imprisonment from 5 days to 6 months.
- Fines: You’ll be required to pay fines ranging from $350 to $1100, along with a $435 driver improvement surcharge.
- License Revocation: Your driver’s license will be revoked for 12-18 months.
- Ignition Interlock Device (IID): You must install an IID in your vehicle for 12-18 months.
- Alcohol and Drug Assessment: You’ll need to complete a $250 assessment.
- Travel Restrictions: Your conviction may lead to a travel ban to Canada and difficulties traveling within the European Union.
If your BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) was .17 or higher, enhanced penalties apply. These penalties increase as your BAC rises for a second OWI in Wisconsin:
- BAC .17 – .199: Double the penalties.
- BAC .20 – .2499: Triple the penalties.
- BAC .25 or greater: Quadruple the penalties.
If you had a minor under 16 in the vehicle, penalties become even more severe for a second OWI in Wisconsin:
- 10 days to 1 year in jail.
- Driver’s license revocation for up to 18 months.
- Fines ranging from $700 to $2200, plus the $435 driver improvement surcharge.
- Up to 2 years of required IID.
- Absolute sobriety required for an occupational license.
If your second OWI in Wisconsin resulted in injury causing bodily harm, it becomes a Class H felony with penalties such as up to 6 years in prison, fines of up to $10,000, and doubled penalties if the injured person was under 16 years old. For a second OWI with great bodily harm, it’s a Class F felony with up to 12.5 years in prison, fines up to $25,000, and increased penalties if a pregnant woman or unborn child was in the vehicle.
7 Grim Realities of a Conviction for Your Second OWI in Wisconsin
- Criminal Offense: A second OWI in Wisconsin is always a criminal offense, leading to a permanent criminal record.
- Mandatory Jail Time: Conviction means mandatory jail time, affecting your job, family, and important life events.
- Sentencing Variability: Getting the minimum 5 days in jail is rare; expect longer sentences.
- Job and Family Impact: Jail can result in job loss and missing important family events.
- Huber Program Uncertainty: Participation in the Huber program is not guaranteed, and strict conditions apply.
- Electronic Monitoring: House arrest or electronic monitoring is possible, but conditions vary by county.
- Ignition Interlock Device (IID): You must install an IID, incurring significant costs and inconvenience.
Prohibited Alcohol Concentration After a Second OWI in Wisconsin
Your legal limit while under an IID requirement is .02%, meaning even one drink can put you over the limit. Driving over .02% can lead to criminal charges and penalties similar to a third OWI conviction.
Record and Expungement after Conviction of Second OWI in Wisconsin
A second OWI conviction remains on your record for life in Wisconsin, with no option for expungement. This record affects future drunk driving arrests, making it crucial to fight your charges with an experienced attorney.
Can a Second OWI in Wisconsin Be Dismissed?
Dismissal or reduction of second DUI charges depends on the details of your arrest and your attorney’s skills. Common defense strategies include challenging the stop’s legality, scrutinizing field sobriety tests, checking for errors in blood alcohol testing, and examining the timing of your BAC test.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Second OWI in Wisconsin
Is a Second OWI a Felony in Wisconsin?
No, a second OWI is a criminal misdemeanor offense, not a felony. If convicted of a second OWI in Wisconsin, you will have a criminal record for the rest of your life.
Can a 2nd OWI Conviction Be Expunged?
Short answer: NO. It’s extremely unlikely (essentially impossible) for a Wisconsin court to expunge a drunk driving conviction for any reason. Even if expungement from your public record were possible, the DOT doesn’t recognize expungements, and your OWI convictions will be on your driving record forever.
Can a 2nd DUI Be Dismissed?
Possibly. Whether you’re able to have your second DUI charges dismissed or reduced depends on the details of your arrest and the quality of the attorney representing your case.
How to Beat 2nd OWI Charges
In each 2nd DUI charge, specific details affect the outcome of your case. To learn how to get your second drunk driving charges reduced or dismissed, you’ll need to speak to an attorney about the unique circumstances of your arrest. In general, these are some of the defense strategies to consider:
- Illegal stop
- Field sobriety tests mishandled
- Blood alcohol test error
- BAC under the limit while driving
- Collateral attack
Other Consequences of a 2nd OWI Conviction
There are even more consequences people with a second OWI conviction have to deal with:
- A $250 alcohol and drug assessment + cost of recommended treatment plan
- Hundreds of dollars for an occupational license
- More money to apply to have your driver’s license reinstated
- Loss of your job if you have a commercial driver’s license or pilot’s license
- SR22 high-risk auto insurance (on average 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 for years after your conviction
- 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).
Contact Dahlberg Law Group for Help
Protect your record and freedom by hiring an experienced OWI defense attorney. Attorney King Tse of Dahlberg Law Group has extensive knowledge of Wisconsin’s OWI laws and can help you navigate your case effectively.
Don’t let a second OWI conviction ruin your life. Contact lawyers at Dahlberg Law Group today for a free case review and expert guidance. We have a proven track record of successfully defending clients against second offense drunk driving charges and can help you minimize the consequences of your situation.