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THE STANGL LAW BLOG

How Many OWIs/DUIs is a Felony in Wisconsin?

January 11, 2021

 
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:

  • 60 days to 6 years in jail
  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • 2-3 years driver’s license revocation 
  • 1-3 years required ignition interlock device in vehicle
  • Absolute sobriety required for occupational license
  • 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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Understanding the One-Leg Stand Sobriety Test in Wisconsin and Your Right to Refuse

October 27, 2020

If you are pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence in Wisconsin, at some point the police will likely ask you to step out of your car in order to take part in testing used with the intention of confirming the officer's suspicion that you are intoxicated due to drug use or alcohol consumption.

You probably already have some awareness of these roadside tests used by police to test for drunk driving, whether in movies or real life. The official term for these tests is, field sobriety tests (FSTs).

While you may be asked to perform any number or combination of FSTs, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recognizes three tests as standardized field sobriety tests. These tests include: the horizontal gaze nystagmus test or HGN, the walk-and-turn test (WAT) and the one-leg stand test (OLS).

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Implied Consent in Wisconsin: Everything You Need to Know

October 13, 2020

Following an arrest for impaired or drunk driving in Wisconsin, you or a loved one may be facing charges for operating while intoxicated (OWI) and associated offenses.

A lot has happened quickly and now you're left to choose your next step to help you defend against OWI charges. We understands you have questions.

Some of these questions might include:

"What is 'Implied Consent?'"

"Will I go to jail for OWI?"

"What if I was driving under a suspended license?"

"How can I beat drunk driving charges?"

"How will an OWI offense impact my insurance?"

It's important to get answers to your questions right away from a knowledgeable attorney in order to start your defense against DUI, OWI, DWI, BAC and PAC charges in Wisconsin.

Here, we focus on answering questions related to consent to testing for intoxication.

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How to Protect Driving Privileges While Fighting an OWI in Wisconsin

October 9, 2020

With over 20 years' experience successfully defending clients facing drunk driving charges in Wisconsin, Stangl Law understands one very important issue on their minds:

"Will I lose my driver's license?"

Certainly, driving privileges are on the line after anyone is arrested for driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol on Wisconsin roads. There are, however, ways you can potentially minimize restrictions on your ability to drive during this time.

If you are facing any charges relating to driving while intoxicated (such as OWI, DUI, DWI, BAC or PAC) in Wisconsin, it is imperative to consult an experienced attorney to help with your defense to increase your likelihood of keeping your license.

Get a Free OWI Defense Consultation

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4th Offense OWI in Wisconsin: Felony & Lifetime Revocation

September 25, 2020

In 2016, the consequences for 4th offense OWI (and beyond) in Wisconsin became an even more serious matter for repeat offenders under Wisconsin law with the passage of Senate Bill 455, which Governor Scott Walker signed into law on April 25, 2016.

Since the adoption of the new law, any 4th OWI offense in Wisconsin is now considered an automatic Class H felony—regardless of the time period between charges. Previously, this was considered a misdemeanor, unless occurring within 5 years of the third OWI offense.

As a result of the adoption of Senate Bill 455 into law, the penalties for repeat OWI convictions (4th offense OWI and beyond) in Wisconsin have become even more severe. In addition to loss of license, having an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in your vehicle and other requirements, you will now face greater fines and longer prison terms if you are convicted of 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th OWI or any subsequent OWI charges in Wisconsin.

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5 Things To Know About Ignition Interlock Devices and Wisconsin OWI

September 18, 2020

Wisconsin Ignition Interlock Device Laws

Among the penalties handed down for OWI charges in Wisconsin, Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs) provide a preventive solution to drivers convicted of an OWI with a particularly high BAC level, or those who’ve been caught driving drunk repeatedly.

As the technology behind the devices becomes both cheaper and more efficient, they are increasingly being used as a measure to curb the potentially disastrous effects of OWI before they occur.

Since 2010, Wisconsin, among other states, has passed legislation making these devices mandatory for individuals convicted of OWI under certain circumstances.

Whether you’ve been issued this device or not, all drivers should be aware of what these devices do, and under what circumstances you can be forced to install one into your own vehicle.

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A Guide to Wisconsin's Operating with a Prohibited Alcohol Concentration (PAC) Law

September 14, 2020

In Wisconsin, a drunk driving arrest usually results in at least two criminal charges: Operating while under the influence of an intoxicant (OWI), and Prohibited Alcohol Concentration (PAC).

Many of us are familiar with OWI (also called DUI or DWI in other states), but far fewer of us know about PAC charges.

In this post, I briefly explain both of these charges and what to do should you find yourself facing them in Wisconsin.

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What You Need To Know About Underage OWI in Wisconsin

June 22, 2020

I’ve talked at length about the consequences of OWI charges and convictions for adults in Wisconsin, but for those with underage teens who may be old enough to drive but too young to consume alcohol, it’s important to understand the differences between each group as the laws and penalties are not the same.

This article will provide important information relating to OWI for drivers not yet of the legal drinking age in Wisconsin. This offense is different than OWI with a minor passenger. For more information on that see my other article here.

Even if you feel confident your teen or teens would not drink and drive, it's still a good idea to discuss this issue under Wisconsin law so they know their rights in case they or their friends ever find themselves being pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving in Madison or elsewhere across the state.

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Second Offense OWI in Wisconsin: Penalties & Next Steps

June 12, 2020


The penalties for second offense OWI can be significantly more severe than a first offense OWI.
Unlike a first offense OWI in Wisconsin, which is classified as a civil offense, a second offense OWI is a criminal offense without exception.

These include, but are not limited to possible jail time (up to 6 months), significant monetary fines of $350 to $1,100 plus surcharges, and mandatory driver’s license revocation for at least 12 months. Many factors can affect sentencing based on the circumstances of your situation.

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How To Hire A Wisconsin OWI Lawyer: 9 Questions to Ask

May 26, 2020

Posting bail after a drunk driving arrest can feel like a huge relief, but understand it's only the beginning in your battle against operating under the influence of an intoxicant or OWI charges in Madison or elsewhere across Wisconsin.

Since our state adopted stricter laws against some OWI offenses in 2016, it's more important than ever to consult a skilled Wisconsin drunk driving defense attorney if you've been charged with OWI, DUI, DWI, BAC, PAC or any other drug- or alcohol-related offense or offenses.

If you're like many people who get pulled over for drunk driving in Wisconsin, it's likely you've never had to hire a criminal defense attorney before, and may not know where to start. This article presents a list of nine important questions to ask to help ensure you find the right attorney for your needs.

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