In an effort to reduce drunk driving offenses, Wisconsin assesses fines, driver’s license penalties, and sometimes jail time to drunk driving offenders.  Below is a summary of potential consequences for drunk driving offenses. 

First-time offenders:

  • A first time offense is usually a non-criminal traffic citation, meaning no jail time may be assessed and a conviction will not be listed on the person’s criminal record.
  • If the first time offender caused a motor vehicle accident and injury, or had a minor passenger in the car, the charge may become criminal, even though it is the person’s first offense. 
  • First time offenses incur license revocations for six to nine months.
  • If the offender’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was a 0.15 or above, an ignition interlock device is required to be installed in all vehicles titled in the driver’s name.
  • Fines range from $150 – $300, not including costs.  With costs, total monies owed can range from $800 – $1000.
  • If an accident or injury was involved, fines and license revocation periods are subject to increase.

Second-time offenders:

  • A second offense that was committed more than 10 years after the first offense is essentially treated the same as a first offense.
  • A second offense within 10 years of a first offense is a criminal charge.  It is classified as a misdemeanor.
  • Penalties for a second offense include a mandatory minimum jail time of at least 5 days, and up to 6 months in county jail. 
  • Fines range from $350 – $1100, not including costs.  With costs, total monies owed can range from $1400 – $1600. 
  • License revocation ranges from 12 – 18 months.
  • An ignition interlock device is required to be installed in all vehicles titled in the driver’s name.
  • If an accident or injury was involved, or if a minor was in the vehicle, fines, jail, and license revocation periods are subject to increase.

Third-time offenders:

  • An OWI third offense is a misdemeanor.
  • Conviction requires mandatory minimum jail time of 45 days, and up to 12 months in county jail. 
  • Fines range from $600 – $2,000, exclusive of costs.  With costs, total monies owed can range from $1700 – $4000. 
  • License revocations range from 24 – 36 months. 
  • An ignition interlock device is required to be installed in all vehicles titled in the driver’s name.
  • If an accident or injury was involved, or if a minor was in the vehicle, fines, jail, and license revocation periods are subject to increase.

OWI 4th offenses and above are considered felonies, and are subject to increased fines and prison time. 

In addition to the above penalties, Wisconsin law requires that each person convicted of an OWI, no matter which level of offense, must submit to an Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) assessment.  The assessment involves an interview between the offender and a substance abuse counselor, as well as meetings with the offender’s family members to discuss drinking habits/drug use and abuse.  Once the assessment is completed, it will be used to create a Driver Safety Plan customized for each offender.  The Driver Safety Plan will outline the treatment, education, and sobriety testing required for each offender.  This AODA assessment and follow through with AODA recommentations is mandatory, and if not completed timely will result in further license revocation.  

Some counties have specialty OWI treatment courts, which focus on substance abuse treatment and sobriety, and allow for reduced penalties upon completion.

If you’ve been arrested or have been the victim of an accident, please call us at (715) 246-2211 to speak with one of our experienced attorneys.

Since 1883, the attorneys at Doar, Drill & Skow have represented families, individuals and businesses across Wisconsin and Minnesota in areas of personal injury, criminal defense, family law and divorce, civil litigation, estate planning and trusts, workers compensation, and more. We are recognized as one of western Wisconsin’s most skilled and successful personal injury law firms and have built our reputation on what we achieve for our clients. We are committed to being your advocate, regardless of your circumstances. Located in New Richmond, we serve clients throughout western Wisconsin and Minnesota.

DISCLAIMER: The Doar, Drill, and Skow blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal practices and vary by location. Information reported may come from secondary news sources. We do handle these types of cases, but whether or not the individuals and/or loved ones involved in these types of situations choose to be represented by a law firm is a personal choice we respect.

Should you find any of the information incorrect, we welcome you to contact us with corrections.