Contact Van Severen Law Office at (414) 270-0202 to discuss OWI 2nd charges

OWI 2nd charges are serious.  While a first offense drunk driving is merely a ticket, a second offense is a misdemeanor.  And if you’re convicted of that misdemeanor, you face a mandatory period of incarceration.  Our drunk driving attorneys certainly recognize the elevated stakes of a 2nd offense OWI.  We’re here to help you from the moment of your arrest.  We have experience defending charges just like yours, and we’re prepared to fight for you through the end.

Second offense drunk driving charges, because they’re criminal in nature, also all end up on CCAP.  Certain first offense OWI charges (the ones that are charged in municipal court) don’t.  A CCAP listing is certainly embarrassing, and we understand that.

Our drunk driving defense attorneys believe it’s crucial that you hire an ally to assist in this difficult time.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re facing your first offense, second offense, fourth, or your tenth.  For a drunk driving arrest to have occurred, there must have been some police contact involving a vehicle.  Frequently that leads us to motions, and some of those motions have the potential to lead to a complete dismissal of the charges against you.  To speak with one of our experienced, aggressive, drunk driving lawyers, contact Van Severen Law Office at (414) 270-0202.  We answer phones 24/7.

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What is an OWI 2nd?

OWI stands for operating while intoxicated.  This specific article discusses second offense OWI charges.  There’s a difference between driving and and operating, defined in section 356.63(3) of the Wisconsin Statutes:

(a)Drive” means the exercise of physical control over the speed and direction of a motor vehicle while it is in motion.
(b) “Operate” means the physical manipulation or activation of any of the controls of a motor vehicle necessary to put it in motion.
Frequently Wisconsin prosecutors charge OWI, rather than charges focusing on the word drive.  Clearly “operate” is a much easier definition to satisfy.  Driving requires that the officer know the defendant was actually steering, accelerating, or braking the vehicle.  Operation of the vehicle frequently involves nothing more than putting the key into the ignition and starting the vehicle.

What are the elements of this offense?

All crimes in Wisconsin break down into elements.  Elements are basically parts of the crime that prosecutors must prove.  If they cannot prove an element, the crime has not occurred.

Wisconsin Criminal Jury Instruction 2663 defines criminal operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant.  The elements of this offense are:

  1. The defendant drove or operated a motor vehicle on the highway; and
  2. The defendant was under the influence of an intoxicant at the time the defendant drove or operated a motor vehicle.

“Under the influence of an intoxicant” means the defendant’s ability to operate a vehicle was impaired because of consumption of an alcoholic beverage.  Prosecutors must prove that the defendant was less able to exercise the clear judgment and steady hand necessary to handle and control a motor vehicle.  Particular acts of unsafe driving aren’t necessary.  Instead, prosecutors must show impairment of the defendant’s ability to safely control the vehicle.

What are the penalties for an OWI 2nd?

Upon conviction for an OWI 2nd charge in Wisconsin, you face the following penalties:

  • 5 days – 6 months jail
  • 12-18 month driver license revocation (eligible for occupational license after 45 days)
  • 12-18 month ignition interlock device
  • $350+ fine
  • Alcohol assessment and treatment

How do we win my OWI 2nd case?

There are many ways to win a drunk driving case.

Frequently, OWI 2nd cases focus on pre-trial motion practice.  That’s a fancy way of simply saying that frequently drunk driving cases are fought over challenges before trial.  For example, frequently we’ll challenge the stop of your vehicle.  If law enforcement has no reason to stop your vehicle, arguably they don’t have any reason to obtain evidence found within that vehicle.  Certainly that evidence includes observations of your alleged intoxication, preliminary breath test results, field sobriety test results, and other evidence that could be used against you.

Usually those challenges to the stop of the vehicle focus on two arguments: the officer didn’t have probable cause or reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle.  In simple terms, probable cause refers to an actual legal violation.  For example, the officer stopped you for speeding.  That speeding investigation allows for the stop, and upon further suspicion of intoxication can convert into an OWI investigation.  Reasonable suspicion, on the other hand, focuses on the facts and circumstances surrounding the stop.  Obviously stopping a vehicle at 2:30 a.m. on a Saturday, in a bar district, after observing that vehicle swerving within its lane could be suspicious.  Stopping the same vehicle at 5:00 p.m. on a Tuesday in a business district, with no swerving, is a completely different circumstance.

Finally, you maintain a right to fight your second offense drunk driving charge at trial.  Because this is a criminal charge, you are guaranteed the right to a jury trial.  Jury trials focus on many different issues, including the handling of the blood/breath test, the science between the metabolism of alcohol, and the officer’s simple observations.  This step also focuses on the credibility of the police officer, and as any criminal defense lawyer will tell, some cops like to lie and exaggerate.

A man drinks a beer before driving his car
Sometimes, something that seems as harmless as a few drinks with friends leads to something as serious as a drunk driving charge. Contact us at (414) 270-0202 immediately for help.

What about an OWI 2nd with a child in the vehicle?

The circumstances surrounding OWI cases often lead to an escalation in charges and potential penalties.  Having a child under 16 years of age in the vehicle at the time of an OWI is one of those escalators.

Operating while intoxicated with a child under 16 years of age in the vehicle doubles minimum and maximum penalties.  In other words, the defendant faces a potential jail sentence of 10 days – 12 months, $700.00 – $2,200.00 in fines, and 2-3 years worth of a driver license revocation and ignition interlock device.  It’s certainly tempting to focus on the minimum penalties involved here, but it’s important to remember that prosecutors and judges consider the presence of a child to be an aggravating circumstances.  If you’re convicted, framing your sentencing argument is something best handled by an experienced drunk driving defense lawyer like you’ll find at our firm.

Van Severen Law Office provides drunk driving defense

At Van Severen Law Office, S.C., our drunk driving defense lawyers commit themselves to providing consistent, excellent representation.  While every case is different, we’ve helped thousands of individuals facing criminal charges just like yours.  We’ve seen plenty of issues, we’ve fought over plenty of those issues, and we’ve won.

But the next choice is yours.  Are you going to make the call?  We’re confident that after speaking with one of our drunk driving defense lawyers, you’ll quickly recognize that our firm is a good match for your needs.  And that’s why we offer completely free initial consultations to potential clients.  Contact us at (414) 270-0202 immediately, let’s start talking about your case.

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