Wisconsin is one of the few states left where a first Operating While Impaired (OWI) charge is not a criminal offense and, therefore, does not carry incarceration as penalty. Nevertheless, an OWI 1st conviction can result in a number of negative consequences. Fines from $150 to $300 plus court costs, 6 to 9 months revocation, alcohol assessment, and possible ignition interlock device (IID) requirement.
People charged with an OWI 1st should consult with an attorney and discuss the following topics before making a decision on whether or not to plead guilty:
- Loss of Driver’s License
- Insurance Costs
- Ignition Interlock Device
- Legality of the traffic stop
- Alcohol concentration
- Field Sobriety Tests
- Impact on driving record
Most attorneys offer free consultations and will be able to provide helpful information. Many of my clients are surprised when they learn about their rights, possible defenses, what a lawyer can do for them, and that representation in relatively affordable.
An OWI can have many direct and indirect consequences. Consulting and ultimately hiring an attorney to help you with your first OWI in Wisconsin will ensure that you minimize the impact of the charge on your life as much as possible. Good luck!