In Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, and other states, individuals arrested for drinking and driving may find themselves facing "OWI" charges. OWI stands for "operating while under the influence" and is basically the same as a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge. Operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol is a serious liability and carries heavy fines and penalties in Wisconsin as well as nearly every state in the US
OWI charges apply not only to vehicles like cars, trucks, and motorcycles, but to vehicles for work and recreation as well. It is illegal to operate a boat, jet-ski, tractor, or other type of machinery while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The OWI definition allows law enforcement officials to arrest anyone who is operating a vehicle while under the influence.
Penalties for OWI Charges
As stated above, OWI charges can be very costly for the individual accused of the crime. OWI charges typically come with penalties including:
o Fines of $ 150 or more for the first indemnity and suspension of the individual's drivers' license for 6-9 months.
o Fines up to $ 1,100 for the second indemnity, suspension of the person's drivers' license for 12-18 months and possible installation of an alcohol detection system in the vehicle. Violators may face anywhere from 5 days to 6 months in jail upon second conviction.
o Third-time offenders may face fines of $ 600- $ 2,000 as well as license suspension for 2-3 years. Offenders may face 30 days to 1 year in jail as well.
It is important to note that the punishment for OWI greatly increases if an accident occurs and someone is injured in the process. Penalties may also increase if the individual is working operating a vehicle under the influence with a child under 16 years of age in the vehicle.
People who are communicated of OWI charges should consult an experienced legal professional to discuss their case. OWI defenses typically focus on the specifics of the situation including the traffic stop, sobriety tests administrated, and the individual's actions and statements during the arrest. OWI convictions can have a serious effect on an individuals' livelihood and financial situation, so it is important that OWI convictions be avoided at all costs.
If you have any questions regarding operating while contained charges, visit the website of the Milwaukee DWI / OWI defense attorneys of Kohler & Hart.