Do I lose my license forever if I’m convicted of my fourth-offense OWI?
If you face a fourth offense OWI in Wisconsin you’ve lost your license before. Fortunately for you, you were able to obtain an occupational and eventually re-obtain your regular driver license. A law passed in 2018 changed things for drivers facing OWI 4th charges. For individuals asking “do I lose my license forever if I’m convicted of my OWI 4th,” the answer is yes. But as with many things involving the law, there are complexities that accompany this answer. There are ways to obtain your license again in the future.
The drunk driving defense lawyers at Van Severen Law Office have defended hundreds of individuals facing OWI 4th charges. We’re familiar with the motion issues you’ll likely face and how to fight them. And should you desire a trial, we can also help you move that route. Not all criminal defense lawyers are familiar with OWI law, but we are. Contact us today at (414) 270-0202 and let’s start fighting you drunk driving case.
The law – section 343.31(1m)(b) of the Wisconsin Statutes
Upon receiving a [homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle or firearm] or [injury by intoxicated use of a vehicle conviction, or] conviction, suspension, or revocation counted under s. 343.307 (1) that together with other records of the department show that the number of convictions under ss. 940.09 (1) and 940.25 in the person’s lifetime, plus the total number of other convictions, suspensions, and revocations counted under s. 343.307 (1), equals 4 or more, the department shall revoke the person’s operating privilege permanently. This paragraph does not apply if the most recent conviction, suspension, or revocation counted under this paragraph occurred more than 15 years after the next preceding conviction, suspension, or revocation counted under this paragraph. The person is not eligible for an occupational license under s. 343.10. After 10 years of the revocation period have elapsed, the person may apply for reinstatement under s. 343.38.
The law is clear: if you’re convicted of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle or firearm, injury by intoxicated use of a vehicle, or you have 4 or more prior OWI, PAC, or refusal convictions, your driver license is permanently revoked. There’s one exception: this law does not apply if your prior conviction is more than 15 years ago. In other words, if you’re free from any OWI or OWI-related charge over the last 15 years, you will not permanently lose your license. If you’re convicted of a fifth offense, or you face another homicide or injury by intoxicated use of a vehicle charge, you face this issue again and the look-back period remains at 15 years.
How do I avoid losing my license forever?
Certainly the easiest way is to avoid driving while intoxicated. But that’s not why you’re here.
If you face charges for a fourth of subsequent drunk driving situation, hire one of our top drunk driving defense lawyers. Upon meeting with your lawyer, we’ll begin planning your defense. Are there pre-trial motions to file? Importantly, police must follow certain laws when conducting the stop of your vehicle. Similarly they must satisfy certain standards when subjecting you to field sobriety tests and making the arrest. If police fail to satisfy those constitutional requirements, certain evidence could be suppressed, and that leads to the potential of having the charges against you dismissed. Only a skilled drunk driving attorney will be able to pick out all objectionable police conduct and file the proper motion seeking suppression of evidence against you. You’ll certainly find that the lawyers at Van Severen Law Office can help with these issues.
My license was revoked. What now?
Losing your driver license forever is a significant penalty for an OWI, even if it’s a fourth offense. Your driver license is “revoked permanently” if you qualify under this law. And you’re not eligible for an occupational license. But there might be a way to obtain your license again in the future.
Fortunately, after ten years you are eligible for “reinstatement” of your license under section 343.38 of the Wisconsin Statutes. To apply for reinstatement, the following requirements must be satisfied:
- All required fines and fees must be paid;
- A driving examination;
- No OWIs or OWI-related charges over the last ten years; and
- An AODA assessment and completion of required programming.
Contact our drunk driving defense lawyers for help
If you face a drunk driving charge in Wisconsin, we may be able to help. Our drunk driving lawyers regularly fight OWI, PAC, and refusal charges for clients in similar shoes to yours. Whether it’s a first offense, a fourth, or any other drunk driving charge, we can help. Whether you’re looking to fight your case at trial, or you have dispositive pre-trial motions, we can help. Certainly if you’re asking yourself “Will I lose my license forever?” we can help.
Contact Van Severen Law Office today at (414) 270-0202. We’ll connect you with one of our drunk driving defense lawyers and begin fighting your case.