How Many OWIs/DUIs is a Felony in Wisconsin?

Updated by Stangl Law on January 11, 2021

How many DUIs is a Felony in Wisconsin 
As of 2018, a 4th OWI/DUI offense in Wisconsin is classified as an automatic class H felony.

Here's how OWIs are classified in Wisconsin:

A conviction can bring severe penalties:

  • Up to 6 years in jail
  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • Driver’s license revocation 
  • Ignition interlock device in vehicle
  • Absolute sobriety required for occupational license or no eligibility
  • Travel ban to Canada and problems traveling within the EU
  • Other indirect penalties can include surcharges, an alcohol assessment, high-risk insurance requirements, etc.

This means it's absolutely imperative to contact an experienced Wisconsin OWI attorney as soon as possible to avoid conviction and face serious penalties (described below).

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The Penalties of a 4th DUI in Wisconsin

A 4th DUI in Wisconsin, now a class H felony, brings severe penalties:

  • 60 days to 6 years in jail
  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • Lifetime driver’s license revocation 
  • 1-3 + years required ignition interlock device in vehicle
  • No eligibility for occupational license
  • Travel ban to Canada and problems traveling within the EU

You will also need to pay surcharges, undergo an alcohol assessment, deal with high-risk insurance requirements, and other possible penalties depending on the specific facts of your case. Again, since every situation is different and complex, you need to contact an attorney to understand the details and the best path forward.

Read Also: Arrested in Wisconsin: When to Contact a Lawyer

Keep in mind that if your BAC is over .17 at the time of your 4th DUI arrest in Wisconsin, you face harsher penalties which we've outlined below.

  • BAC .17 to .199: Your penalties DOUBLE.
  • BAC .20 to .249: Your penalties TRIPLE.
  • BAC .25 or higher: Your penalties QUADRUPLE.

What to do if You've Been Arrested for 4th DUI in Wisconsin

If you are facing OWI, DWI, DUI, BAC or PAC charges in Wisconsin, you should contact a skilled criminal defense attorney to assist in your defense as soon as possible.

Attorney Patrick Stangl explains why you should never give up hope when fighting repeat DUI/OWI charges in Wisconsin:


Criminal Defense Lawyer Patrick J. Stangl has been aggressively fighting to protect the rights of drivers accused of OWI and other drunk driving charges for over 30 years. He remains committed to protecting the innocent against OWI charges in Madison, Hayward and across Wisconsin.

Two OWI Defense Success Stories

State of Wisconsin v. R.T.

The client was charged with an OWI 5th offense, a felony, with a high alcohol concentration. He had a number of prior convictions from Minnesota, where he did not have a lawyer. If convicted he would likely have received a prison sentence. 

As a result of a very thorough factual and legal investigation, Attorney Stangl was able to establish that in four of the prior convictions his client was not properly advised of his right to appointed counsel and how an attorney may have been able to assist him in those cases, thus establishing that the prior convictions violated his client's constitutional rights under the Sixth Amendment. The State conceded that four of the prior criminal OWI convictions could not be counted against Attorney Stangl's client and the case was amended from a criminal conviction OWI 5th offense to an OWI 1st offense, a non-criminal ordinance violation, thus saving his client from a lengthy jail or prison sentence and another OWI conviction.  

Victory - OWI Accident in Madison, Wisconsin

Attorney Stangl represented a client who had a vehicle accident in the City of Madison and registered a breath alcohol concentration of .14. Luckily no one was hurt but his client was subsequently charged with what is commonly called “drunk driving” but technically an OWI/PAC as a first offense in the State of Wisconsin, §346.63 (1) (a) and §346.63 (1) (b) Wis. Stats. It appeared the City had a strong case and his client was willing to put the matter behind him, however Attorney Stangl continued to research and investigate the matter. Ultimately he was able to discover that the arresting officer failed to comply with certain technical requirements of the law regarding the reading of the Informing the Accused which are rights that a suspected drunk driver must be informed of prior to the submission of any chemical test of their blood, breath or urine. Ultimately the case was successfully resolved and the OWI was amended to reckless driving and the PAC (above the legal limit charge) was dismissed.

FREE 10-Minute Consultation

If you need help to fight drunk driving charges in Madison or elsewhere in the state, Attorney Pat Stangl is happy to offer you a FREE 10-minute consultation to discuss your case and explore options for your defense against OWI, DUI, DWI, PAC, BAC or other criminal charges. Click the link below to get started.

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Topics: Drunk Driving Charges (OWI)



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