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What Are the Penalties for a First-Time OWI Conviction Under Criminal Law? February 13, 2019

Platteville, Grant
What Are the Penalties for a First-Time OWI Conviction Under Criminal Law?, Platteville, Wisconsin

If you’ve been charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, you may not immediately feel inclined to hire a criminal law attorney. Since operating while intoxicated (OWI) is technically a traffic offense, it’s reasonable to assume the penalties are not that severe. However, you should do everything possible to fight the charges because failing to do so could have lasting repercussions. If you’ve been accused of OWI, here’s what to expect in the event of a conviction. 

Imposed Penalties

The penalties for a first-time OWI conviction vary by state. Under criminal law in Wisconsin, for example, offenders can expect to face a license suspension of six to nine months and a fine of between $150 and $300. They are also responsible for covering additional penalties and fees, including an OWI surcharge of $365 and a license reinstatement fee of $200. If there are any aggravating circumstances, the penalties may include jail time and heftier fines. If there was a child in the vehicle at the time, for example, the defendant may face between five days and six months in jail, as well as a fine of up to $1,100. 

Indirect Penalties 

criminal lawIn addition to the penalties mentioned above, there are indirect consequences of having an OWI conviction on your record. For example, you can expect your car insurance premiums to increase significantly. You may also struggle to secure or maintain employment, especially if your position requires a commercial driver’s license. Finally, your ability to travel outside the country will be limited. In Canada, for example, driving under the influence is considered a felony under criminal law. Since the Immigration Act categorizes it as an excludable offense, those with a DUI on their record likely cannot enter Canada without taking specific legal steps. 


If you’re facing OWI charges, turn to Scott & Heenan LLC in Platteville, WI. Their seasoned criminal law team has more than 50 years of combined experience practicing law. Since 1999, they have represented clients throughout Grant County. As one of the few firms in the area that focuses on OWI and traffic crimes, they have earned a reputation for securing satisfactory outcomes for clients who've been accused of drinking and driving. To reach out to an OWI attorney on their team and discuss your rights, call (608) 348-9506 or fill out the form on their website

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