Watch this video to learn about the changes to OWI policy in Wisconsin.
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Title Slide: Changes in the Wisconsin OWI Laws with Attorney Pat Stangl
Q1: How will the new laws affect the prosecution of OWI charges?
Well, Wisconsin did pass the most comprehensive changes in OWI laws, which went into effect on July 1st of 2010, and seriously strengthened the penalties and made a lot of changes to the law. I think you'll see a continued effort by the legislature to increase penalties. For example, for OWI-First charges, there's a bill pending in the legislature to have an OWI-First be a crime in Wisconsin. It will be interesting to see where that ends up, as Wisconsin is the only state in the Union where a first-offense OWI is not a crime.
It's not a crime. It's known as what is called a civil forfeiture. It is a civil penalty, so it's still a significant penalty, but you cannot go to jail, if it is a civil penalty on an OWI-First. However, you can still go to jail in Wisconsin on an OWI-First if you have a minor child in the car, and it's your first offense, it's elevated to a crime.