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Can’t finish the bottle?  Take your wine home with you!

Wine doesn’t need to be wasted.  And you don’t need to commit OWI.

We’ve all been there: head out for a nice dinner at a fancy restaurant and order a bottle of wine with your meal.  But what happens when you can’t finish the whole bottle?  Two options are clear:  leave the wine at the table, or pour another glass even though you probably have had enough.

Problems arise with both of those options, however.  Most people aren’t going to want to leave without finishing the entire bottle that they likely paid good money for.  But if you have that extra glass, you might find yourself getting pulled over for an OWI on the drive home.  You certainly don’t want to end your special night in a jail cell.

But here’s a third option: take the bottle home with you!  Top criminal defense attorney Ben Van Severen explains:

Re-cork the wine

A little known law hidden in the Wisconsin Statutes governing alcoholic beverages actually allows restaurants to re-cork a single bottle and send it home with you.  Wis. Stat. Sec. 125.51(3r) permits holders of Class B or class C liquor licenses to sell a bottle of wine for consumption both on and off the premises.  You must meet the following criteria:

  1. The premises is a restaurant that also operates under a Class B or Class C license;
  2. The purchaser of the wine orders food to be consumed on the premises;
  3. The restaurant provides a dated receipt that identifies the purchase of the food and the bottle of wine;
  4. The restaurant reinserts the cork into the bottle to the point where the top of the cork is even with the top of the bottle;
  5. The cork is reinserted outside of the hours of 12 AM to 6 AM;

Sometimes your server will seal the wine in a plastic bag and attach a receipt to the bag.  While displaying the receipt certainly isn’t required, it helps.

So the next time you order a bottle of wine with dinner and can’t quite finish it, you can now ask your server to send it home with you!  This saves you money.  Secondly, you get to enjoy the rest of your wine.  Finally, you won’t be tempted to have that one extra drink.  That extra drink could land you in need of a Wisconsin drunk driving attorney.

And what happens if you decide to have too much to drink?

It’s somewhat common knowledge that law enforcement officers aren’t afraid to wait outside bars and to pull patrons over upon leaving.  It’s certainly conceivable that law enforcement officers do this outside certain restaurants.  For example, if you’re in a bar district (like Water Street, in Milwaukee), law enforcement officers don’t discriminate between bar patrons and restaurant patrons.  If you give the officer a reason to pull you over, he’ll likely begin an OWI investigation.

If you have too much to drink, you’ll likely smell like it.  And typically, you exhibit signs of intoxication: red, glassy, bloodshot eyes.  When the cops asks whether you’ve been drinking, your choices are to lie (which we call obstructing an officer), or to tell the truth. And once the officer learns of your drinking, he’s going to continue the investigation.

Eventually you’ll be subject to a battery of field sobriety tests.  Upon a failure of those tests and a preliminary breath test above a .08, the law enforcement officer will arrest you.

What kind of penalties do I face for a drunk driving conviction?

In the case of a drunk driving conviction, the defendant faces the following penalties:

  • First offense OWI:  Firstly, you’re subject to a fine between $100.00 and $300.00.  Your license will lose your license 6-9 months.  And finally, if your blood alcohol content is above a .15, you’ll be required to install an ignition interlock device in your car for 12 months.
  • Second offense OWI: Second offense drunk driving charges are misdemeanors.  You’ll be exposed to a mandatory minimum of 5 days in jail.  You could serve up to 6 months.  Finally, you’ll lose your license and be required to install an ignition interlock device for 12-18 months.  Fines for a third offense operating while intoxicated range between $350.00 and $1,100.00.
  • Third offense OWI: A third offense OWI is a misdemeanor.  You’ll be required to serve between 45 days and one year in county jail.  Next, you’re required to install an ignition interlock device for 2-3 years, and you’ll lose your license for 1-3 years.  Finally, your fines will be $600.00 – $2,000.00.

Felony level drunk driving penalties

  • Fourth offense OWI: This charge is a felony.  The first consequence is certainly that label: felon.  You’ll serve between 60 days jail and 6 years in prison.  Fines range between $600.00 and $10,000.00.  You will lose your license for 1-3 years and will install an IID for 2-3 years.
  • Fifth offense OWI:  A fifth offense OWI charge is your last chance to avoid prison.  While prison is certainly a possibility, the mandatory minimum sentence for this charge is 6 months in jail.  The maximum is 6 years in prison, with between $6,000.00 and $25,000.00 in fines.  You will lose your license for 2-3 years.  And finally, you will install an ignition interlock device for 1-3 years.
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Contact one of our criminal defense attorneys for help:

Should you have any questions about this law, contact one of our criminal defense lawyers at (414) 270-0202.  Our firm defends individuals accused of all drunk driving offenses.  Those include operating while intoxicated, operating with a prohibited alcohol concentration, drugged driving offenses, refusals, and all other criminal matters.  If you face drunk driving charges, don’t hesitate to contact one of Milwaukee’s best drunk driving defense lawyers.  (414) 270-0202.