Sometimes, after a traffic crash, a driver ends up facing accusations of wrongdoing. One such allegation that can be very serious is being accused of having been drunk at the time of the accident. It can be especially serious if another person was injured in the crash.
When a person is accused of having injured someone through driving drunk here in Wisconsin, they can face special drunk driving charges. What particular such charge they could face depends on the severity of the injury.
If the injury was fatal, they could face charges of Homicide While OWI. This is generally a Class D felony offense. Generally, a conviction on this offense can result in a prison sentence of up to 25 years and a fine of up to $100,000. However, if a person has previous OWI-related convictions, the offense rise to Class C and carries even heavier penalties (up to 40 years in prison).
If the injury was non-fatal, but particularly severe, the accusations could lead to a charge of Causing Great Bodily Harm by OWI. This offense falls into the Class F felony level. A person can be given up to 12 and a half years in prison and fined up to $25,000 for a conviction on this crime.
Other injuries, including minor ones, could lead to a Causing Injury While OWI charge. What penalties this offense carries depends on whether a person has past OWI or chemical test refusals on their record. If they don’t, the max fine is $2,000 and the max prison sentence is one year. If they do, the offense rises to a Class H felony and carries a max fine of $10,000 and a max prison sentence of six years.
As one can see, many different details can contribute to what sort of legal situation a person is in following being accused of drunk driving in connection to a motor vehicle crash. There are also a variety of factors that can impact what options related to fighting the charges a person has when facing such allegations. So, when facing any of the special drunk driving charges mentioned above, a Wisconsin driver may want to promptly have a skilled defense attorney look into their situation so they can get guidance tailored to their unique circumstances.
Source: Wisconsin Department of Transportation, “OWI AND RELATED ALCOHOL AND DRUG PENALTIES (AS OF MARCH 22, 2017),” Accessed April 21, 2017