Wisconsin is the only state that makes first-time drunk driving a civil violation, not a crime. However, because there continues to be so many drunk driving accidents in the state, lawmakers are again considering stricter operating while intoxicated (OWI) laws.
State legislators have recently proposed a bill that would make a first time violation for drunk driving a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a hefty fine. Sponsors of the bill want to toughen up Wisconsin OWI laws, saying too many innocent people are injured or killed by drunk drivers, a sentiment shared by organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) who say law enforcement and prosecutors need more tools to address the issue.
While Wisconsin’s DUI/OWI first offense laws may seem like a slap on the wrist to some, it is important to note that any subsequent offenses, such as OWI, second offense, within 10 years of the first offense can have significant consequences including incarceration, revocation of license, increased fines, the installation of an ignition interlock device and a criminal record.
If you are charged with OWI first offense or a subsequent offense, it is recommended that you seek the help of an experienced criminal defense OWI attorney. An OWI attorney may be able to negotiate a plea deal called a wet reckless, which involves pleading to reckless driving rather than a finding of guilt on a DUI charge. While the punishments for reckless driving are not insignificant, they are often lower than the penalties for an OWI.
If You Are Arrested for OWI
Contact an Experienced Wisconsin OWI Lawyer For Help
If you have been arrested for Wisconsin OWI for a first or subsequent offense, the best advice is to work with an experienced attorney to reduce or perhaps even dismiss the charges you face. Contact the Waukesha criminal defense lawyers of Andrew C. Ladd LLC for immediate assistance today at 262-542-3900.