Door County, Wisconsin DUI Lawyer

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Driving under the influence is called OWI in Wisconsin, which stands for “Operating While Intoxicated.” It is a very serious criminal charge which can result in serious penalties if convicted.

If you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated, you need the help of an aggressive OWI attorney in Door County. It is possible to lose your license and end up in jail if you do not defend yourself properly from these charges. Also, if this is your second or a subsequent arrest for OWI, then the chances are very high that you could go to jail and suffer other inconveniences. Instead of hoping the prosecutor will make things easier on you, please contact a lawyer at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald today.

What Qualifies as OWI?

You can find the state’s OWI statute at Wisc. Stat. section 346.63. It states that a person commits OWI when they:

  • Operate or drive a motor vehicle under the influence of a controlled substance or intoxicant so that he or she is incapable of driving safely; or
  • Operate or drive a motor vehicle with a prohibited blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

Wisconsin’s prohibited BAC is 0.08 for adults and 0.02 for drivers under 21. The BAC measures the amount of alcohol in the person’s system using either a blood, breath, or urine test. If your BAC is 0.08 or higher, you have committed a per se violation, meaning the prosecutor doesn’t need to show that you were not able to drive safely. It is enough that your blood alcohol concentration is too high.

What are the Penalties for an OWI Conviction?

The penalties you face depend on several factors:

  • Is this your first or subsequent OWI conviction? How recent are the other convictions? Were they within the past 10 years?
  • How high was your BAC? Very high (0.15% or higher)?
  • Was anyone injured because you were operating a vehicle while intoxicated? Did you hit a pedestrian or smash into another occupied vehicle?
  • Was there a minor under age 16 in the vehicle?

To better understand the penalties, let’s look at some common situations in this section.

First Conviction for OWI, No Prior Convictions and No Great Bodily Harm. You are facing the following:

  • Fine of $150-300, plus $435 OWI surcharge
  • Revocation of your license for 6-9 months
  • If BAC was 0.15 or higher, then the installation of an interlock ignition device (IID) or 24/7 sobriety program

Second Conviction for OWI, Previous Conviction within 10 Years or Great Bodily Harm. A defendant is looking at the following:

  • Fine of $350-1,100, plus $435 OWI surcharge
  • 5 days to 6 months in jail
  • Revocation of your license for 12-18 months
  • Installation of an IID on your vehicle or 24/7 sobriety program for 12-18 months

Third Conviction for OWI. A defendant faces the following penalties:

  • Fine of $600-2,000
  • 45 days to 1 year in jail
  • License revocation for 2-3 years
  • Installation of an IID or 24/7 sobriety program for 1-3 years

Fourth Conviction for OWI. A defendant faces even more serious penalties for a fourth conviction, which is unsurprising. A fourth conviction shows that a person has a serious drinking problem which they can’t get ahold of. Penalties include:

  • Fine of $600-10,000, plus $435 OWI surcharge
  • 60 days to 6 years in jail or prison
  • License revocation for 2-3 years
  • Installation of an IID or 24/7 sobriety program for 1-3 years

Fines and time in prison will increase for any fifth or subsequent OWI offense. For example, a tenth or subsequent OWI is a Class E Felony that can send you to prison for 4-15 years.

Common OWI Misconceptions

As established Door County OWI lawyers, we hear many misconceptions about intoxicated driving from members of the public. The Internet is also full of inaccurate information, often written by someone with no credentials other than having been picked up for OWI himself. We want to highlight some of the more common myths and clear up any confusion:

  • You can’t be convicted of OWI if you don’t take a roadside test. This is false. You can be convicted of OWI based upon a police officer’s observations. If your breath reeks of alcohol and your eyes are bloodshot, the prosecutor can use that evidence to secure a conviction.
  • You can’t be convicted if your BAC is below 0.08. This is also false. The statute provides multiple ways to get a conviction; using your BAC as proof of intoxication is only one. If you are driving under the influence in Door County, WI, you can be charged with OWI.
  • You don’t need a lawyer for a first offense. Not true! A first offense can cause you to lose your license, which can make it very difficult for you to get to work or school. Getting the first conviction means that if you get picked up again within 10 years, then you will face even more penalties in the future.
  • You always get a generous plea deal. Some offenders get a plea deal, but everything depends on the facts of your case. If you injured a pedestrian or other motorist, then a plea deal will be less generous, if one is made at all.
  • Prosecutors take it easy on young drivers. There aren’t hard-and-fast rules like these. If you had a carload of children with you and were driving with a BAC over 0.15%, then your being 19 years old isn’t much of a defense.

Don’t rely on anonymous people online to walk you through your DUI defense. Instead, meet with a professional lawyer.

Defenses to OWI

Unlike other firms, we don’t use “off the rack” defense strategies. Instead, we take a deep dive into the facts of your case to find the right defense for you. Depending on the circumstances, we might argue:

  • You had a prescription for whatever substance was in your system.
  • The breath test was faulty.
  • The police officer did not have a Constitutionally valid reason to stop you in the first place, so the arrest is illegal.
  • You hadn’t been drinking (if there was no breath test given).

Contact Our DUI Attorneys in Door County, WI

To better understand the options, consult with a lawyer at Hammett, Bellin, Oswald, LLC today. You can schedule a free initial consultation by reaching out to us today.

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