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First-time Wisconsin OWIs: Not criminal offenses, but still very impactful

Not all operating while intoxicated offenses here in Wisconsin fall under the classification of a criminal offense. Rather, under current state law, first offenses of OWI are generally noncriminal violations.

However, this does not mean that having good legal guidance regarding one’s defense isn’t important when facing accusations of a first offense of drunk driving in Wisconsin. Such guidance can play a big role in a person having a full and accurate understanding of their options and rights when facing such accusations. Such an understanding can be critical in cases involving counts of a first-offense OWI due to the fact that, even when it is for a noncriminal violation, a Wisconsin OWI conviction can have major impacts on a person’s life.

Among the consequences a person can face if they are found guilty of a first-offense OWI in the state are:

  • A permanent mark on their record. This can come to haunt a person in many contexts, including when looking for a job or when moving to a different state or country.
  • A license suspension (six to nine months).
  • A fine ($150-$300).
  • An increase in their auto insurance rates (this increase sometimes is as high as 70 percent).

So, it is important for individuals in Wisconsin who are facing accusations of drunk driving for the first time to not incorrectly assume that what happens in their case will have no real impact on their life. Skilled defense attorneys can provide OWI suspects with explanations of what exactly is at stake in their case.

Source: weareGreenBay, “First OWI offenses carry wide range of consequences in Wisconsin,” Steven Dent, March 15, 2017

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