Operating while revoked is potentially a misdemeanor in Wisconsin.  Contact our criminal defense attorneys for immediate help: (414) 270-0202

Operating while revoked cases can be serious.  The base offense is a citation, punishable by a fine up to $2,500.00.  Unfortunately, in various circumstances, a ticket becomes a criminal charge quickly.  This page focuses on criminal operating while revoked cases, with the majority of our focus on OWI-related revocations.  In circumstances involving great bodily harm or death, operating while revoked charges become felonies.

If you’re facing an operating while revoked (or operating after revocation, or “OAR”) charge, contact our criminal defense attorneys immediately.  Frequently when facing the misdemeanor version of this offense, it’s possible to achieve a reduction in charges to a non-criminal offense.  When facing the felony version of this offense, and the potential prison penalty, it’s even more important to have a strong ally on your side.

Finally, contact us at (414) 270-0202 for a free, one-hour consultation.

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What is “operating while revoked”?  OWI-related offenses:

When an individual operates a vehicle during a period when his license is revoked, and that revocation was the result of an OWI-related offense, he has committed a crime called operating while revoked.  Operating while revoked is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in the county jail, a fine of up to $2,500.00, or both.  Operating while revoked is prohibited by section 343.44(1)(b) of the Wisconsin Statutes.

That section makes clear that:

No person whose operating privilege has been duly revoked under the laws of this state may knowingly operate a motor vehicle upon any highway in this state during the period of revocation or in violation of any restriction on an occupational license issued to the person during the period of revocation. In this paragraph, “restriction on an occupational license” means restrictions imposed under s. 343.10 (5) (a) as to hours of the day, area, routes or purpose of travel, vehicles allowed to be operated, use of an ignition interlock device, sobriety or use of alcohol, controlled substances or controlled substance analogs.

Operating while revoked is a common charge issued after individuals have been convicted of OWI/PAC and have had their licenses revoked.  The problem is that OWI penalties include driver license revocations of at least 6 months.  In second or subsequent OWI/PAC convictions, occupational licenses can only be obtained after at least a 45 day waiting period.  The waiting period can sometimes force individuals to decide between following the law and things like attending school, going to work, or picking up children.  That difficult decision can lead to a criminal conviction.  Our Milwaukee defense attorneys understand that difficult decision.  We provide effective operating while revoked defense.

When does this charge become a felony?

Operating after revocation charges can become felonies in a matter of seconds.  Typically, considering the fact that this is a traffic-related offense, escalating circumstances occur during car accidents.  The harm caused to a victim is what determines the new penalty for the offense:

  • OAR causing great bodily harm is a Class I felony, punishable by up to 3.5 years prison.
  • OAR causing death is a Class H felony, punishable by up to 6 years prison.

Importantly, both of these offenses are only felonies if the defendant was aware of his revocation at the time of the offense.  This is important, and provides a possible defense to these felony charges.  If the defendant was unaware of his revocation, the charges are both misdemeanors with maximum penalties of 1 year in the county jail.

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Operating while revoked can be a crime in Wisconsin. Contact our drunk driving attorneys at (414) 270-0202 immediately for help.

Second or subsequent cases – potential escalation to a misdemeanor penalty

The basic operating after revocation case is a ticket.  We’ve explained how an active OWI revocation results in a misdemeanor penalty, and how harming others causes an escalation to a felony.

There’s one final way an OAR case becomes a misdemeanor, and that is the result of the defendant having multiple convictions.  Two OAR tickets don’t do it.  Instead, the defendant must have a prior operating while actively revoked for an OWI conviction.  Any future charges for operating while revoked are misdemeanors for that defendant.

In other words, you can receive endless OAR tickets and they will always be tickets.  As soon as one of those offenses involves an active OWI revocation, that offense, and all future offenses, are misdemeanors.

We defend operating while revoked cases

Criminal traffic cases are incredibly serious.  While something as simple as driving during an OWI revocation might seem like a fine, OAR situations can quickly evolve to felony-level charges.  Simply operating after an OWI conviction, during the revocation, is at least a misdemeanor.

Hiring a top drunk driving defense lawyer is one of the best ways a defendant can deal with a situation like this.  We’ve fought on behalf of thousands of clients facing criminal convictions.  We’ve faced challenges individuals facing OAR charges encounter.  And in some of those cases, we’ve had incredibly successes.

Contact us at (414) 270-0202 and let’s discuss your charges.

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