Penalties and Sentencing
Wisconsin has minimum and maximum penalties in place for OWI convictions
based on the circumstances of the offense and the number of prior offenses
within the last 10 years or within a lifetime for third and subsequent offenses.
There is generally no required jailtime for first-time offenders, though
they will incur a fine of $150-$300. Second offenses can carry 5 days
to 6 months of jail and/or a fine of $350-$1,100, and third offenses can
lead to 45 days to 1 year behind bars and/or $600-$2,000 in fines. Higher
BAC concentrations will increase the minimum and maximum fines, though.
Drivers with an excessive BAC of 0.17%-0.199% will face doubled fines,
and those with a BAC of 0.20%-0.249% will face tripled fines.
The court will also order a driver’s license revocation for the following
periods upon conviction:
- First offense – 6-9 months
- Second offense – 12-18 months
- Third offense – 2-3 years
Underage drivers convicted of OWI with a BAC between 0.02%-0.08% may face
a 3-month license suspension and $200 fine.
Every person convicted of an OWI must also submit to a drug and alcohol
evaluation, which will be used to create a driver safety plan which outlines
the treatment, OWI education, and sobriety testing required for the offender.
Depending on your case, there are some alternative ways to fulfill jail
time. For instance, a judge can order 30 days of community service instead
of jail time for a second offense. Some jail terms can also be suspended
if the judge orders probation for the defendant. For a third offense OWI,
however, the judge must order at least 14 days of jail time even if probation
and treatment are in place.
Wisconsin has a "Safe Streets" option for some offenders to undergo
special treatment for a reduced jail sentence. For a second offender,
treatment could cut jail time to 5-7 days, and for a third offender, it
could be reduced to 14 days to 1 year.
If an individual’s license is revoked for an OWI, in most cases they
can still request restricted driving privileges through an occupational
or hardship license that can be used no more than 12 hours a day and 60
hours per week to go to essential places like work, school, or treatment.
For first-time offenders, there is no waiting to period to get the occupational
license; second or subsequent OWI offenders, however, must wait 45 days
into their revocation period before applying. Be aware that installation
of an ignition interlock device (IID) will be required for at least 1
year after the driver obtains either a hardship license or a reinstated