Category: Drunk Driving

Drunk Driving in Wisconsin – OWI 2023 update

2023 OWI 1st charges in Wisconsin: The first time many individuals are ever arrested is for a first-offense operating while intoxicated.  In Wisconsin, a first OWI isn’t a criminal charge (it is not a misdemeanor or felony).  Penalties include fines ranging between $150.00 and $300.00, a driver license revocation of 6-9 months, and an interlock ignition…

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Can I receive an OWI while snowmobiling?

What is the law for OWI while snowmobiling? Section 346.63(1)(a) of the Wisconsin Statutes governs operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant.  The law says: 346.63  Operating under influence of intoxicant or other drug. (1)  No person may drive or operate a motor vehicle while: (a) Under the influence of an intoxicant, a…

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What is an ignition interlock device (IID) and when am I required to install one?

What is an ignition interlock device? An ignition interlock device is a cell phone sized device that is wired to your vehicle’s ignition.  After installation, an IID requires you to provide breath samples before starting a vehicle, and sometimes while a vehicle is operational.  If the device detects alcohol in the breath sample, the engine…

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Can I request an alternative to a blood draw after an OWI stop?

What happens when I violate implied consent laws? If the driver refuses an evidentiary blood, breath, or urine test, certain administrative penalties apply.  If prosecutors prove the refusal (or if the challenge timeframe passes) the Department of Motor Vehicles revokes the driver’s license for 12 months.  Additional requirements include an ignition interlock device, a substance…

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Certain refusals can’t count as penalty enhancers

On June 3, 2022, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin determined: Wisconsin’s OWI graduated-penalty scheme is unconstitutional to the extent it counts prior revocations for refusing to submit to a warrantless blood draw as offenses for the purpose of increasing the criminal penalty. The following blog post may contain outdated law and is focused on refusals…

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4th Offense OWI – Do I lose my license forever?

The law – section 343.31(1m)(b) of the Wisconsin Statutes Section 343.31(am)(b) of the Wisconsin Statutes states: 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…

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Can you get an OWI on a bike?

The statutory definition of operating while intoxicated Wisconsin Statute section 346.63(1)(a) prohibits operating while intoxicated: No person may drive or operate a motor vehicle while: Under the influence of an intoxicant, a controlled substance, a controlled substance analog or any combination of an intoxicant, a controlled substance and a controlled substance analog, under the influence…

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What is horizontal gaze nystagmus?

How do law enforcement personnel administer the horizontal gaze nystagmus test? The NHTSA requires that the law enforcement administer the HGN test in a specific manner.  They break the test down into nine parts: Firstly, check for eyeglasses.  The officer instructs a drive who wears glasses to remove them.  Sometimes law enforcement will even ask…

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What happens if you get in a traffic accident while drunk?

DUI accidents with injuries vs. without injuries Importantly, there isn’t any difference in penalties for the individual facing an OWI charge, and the individual facing an OWI charge after an accident that didn’t cause any injuries.  When an injury or death occurs, the penalties increase. DUI accidents with injuries If the defendant has no prior…

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Drunk Driving Homicide

Drunk driving homicide penalties change A new law was enacted in Wisconsin that changes the sentencing structure for drunk driving homicides.  Signed into law by Governor Tony Evers on November 20, 2019, the bill created a presumptive minimum penalty for all drunk driving homicides.  This post will explain the new law, how it changes the…

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