In case you missed the announcement in April, Governor Scott Walker signed Senate Bill 455 into law, which changed the classification and increased the penalties for repeat convictions of operating while under the influence of an intoxicant in Wisconsin.
The law was originally amended on April 25, 2016, however the new penalties and classification system were not scheduled to go into effect until January 1, 2017 under 2015 Wisconsin Act 371.
This article outlines that new classification system and the new penalties for 4th offense OWI and other consecutive OWI convictions in Wisconsin.
If you're facing repeat OWI charges in Wisconsin, it's in your best interest to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away.
The Impact on OWI in Wisconsin
The classification of a felony offense in Wisconsin (Class H felony, for example) helps determine the penalty or penalites you will face if you're convicted of that offense in court.
Since Wisconsin adopted a stricter stance against intoxicated driving for 2017, the classification for certain repeat OWI convictions has also graduated, or become more severe.
The stricter classification also brings more severe consequences.
For example, if you're convicted of a fourth offense OWI in Wisconsin, the classification of that offense has graduated to a felony, where it was previously a misdemeanor.
The new minimum and potential maximum penalties for most repeat OWI offenses have increased under their new classifications to higher-level offenses as of January 1, 2017 and are outlined below.
To learn more about defending against drunk driving charges in Wisconsin, read the article, "15 Ways to Beat a Drunk Driving Case in Wisconsin"by Stangl Law.
Wisconsin's New OWI Classifications as of January 1, 2017
The level or classification of a criminal felony offense helps determine both the minimum and maximum fine and/or length of imprisonment you might receive if convicted.
The following penalty ranges are presented to give you some idea of what you might be up against if you're preparing to fight OWI charges in Wisconsin.
These penalites would be in addition to other fines and various consequences assigned to intoxicated or drunk driving convictions in Wisconsin, such as installation of an ignition interlock device and more. The totality of charges and penalties you face depends on the specific details of your individual case.
4th Offense OWI in Wisconsin
Under Wisconsin's new law, if you're convicted of a fourth OWI offense you will be found guilty of a Class H felony.
Minimum and maximum penalties for a 4th OWI in Wisconsin as of January 1, 2017 are as follows:
- Fines begin at $600 and go up to a maximum of $10,000
- Term of imprisonment will be at least 60 days and up to 6 years
It is possible to be assigned either or both of the above penalties if convicted of a 4th OWI in Wisconsin, depending on the details of your case.
If you are facing your fourth offense OWI, get in touch with an experienced Wisconsin OWI attorney right away.
5th Offense OWI and 6th Offense OWI in Wisconsin
The new classification for either a fifth OWI offense conviction or sixth OWI offense conviction in Wisconsin, brings the penalties of a Class G felony.
The penalties for 5th OWI and 6th OWI in Wisconsin now range from:
- Fines beginning at $600 and up to $25,000
- Minimum term of imprisonment of 6 month, up to a maximum of 10 years
If you are facing your fifth or sixth OWI offense, consult with a skilled Wisconsin OWI lawyer as soon as you are able.
7th Offense OWI, 8th Offense OWI and 9th Offense OWI in Wisconsin
Under Wisconsin's new law, if you are convicted of a seventh OWI offense, eighth OWI offense or nineth OWI offense, you will be found guilty of a Class F felony.
Penalties for a 7th OWI, 8th OWI and 9th OWI conviction in Wisconsin now include:
- Fines up to $25,000
- Term of imprisonment at least 3 years or as long as 12 years and 6 months
If you are facing your 7th, 8th or 9th offense OWI, don't delay in contacting a proven lawyer who specializes in OWI defense.
10th Offense OWI and Subsequent Offense OWI in Wisconsin
The classification for either a tenth OWI conviction or subsequent OWI conviction in Wisconsin, brings the penalties of a Class E felony.
The new penalties for 5th OWI and 6th OWI in Wisconsin include:
- Fines up to $50,000
- Term of imprisonment at least 4 years and as long as 15 years
If you have been charged with a 10th OWI offense or more, consult an aggressive Wisconsin OWI attorney immediately.
If you are facing any of the above OWI offenses, you risk being assigned either or both penalties, in addition to other fines, restrictions and consequences. Whether the penalties you might be facing could fall on the minimum or maximum side of the ranges above depends upon a number of factors, as well as the details of your case.
To better understand what you might be up against if you're facing repeat DUI or drunk driving charges in Wisconsin, contact a knowledgeable attorney who specializes in OWI defense.
Is There Hope Against Repeat OWI in Wisconsin?
There is no doubt that getting arrested for your 4th DUI is a much more serious matter than before in Wisconsin. While the severity of penalties has increased, there is still hope of fighting these charges.
Start by consulting a criminal defense attorney who specializes in defending the rights of clients facing similar charges.
FREE 15-Minute Consultation
Madison OWI Attorney Pat Stangl has been defending the rights of clients against OWI, DUI, DWI, BAC, PAC charges and more for over 25 years. Attorney Stangl is happy to extend to you a FREE 15-minute consultation at no obligation to discuss the details of your case and help you explore options for your defense.