Is DUI a Felony?
Is DUI (drunk driving) a felony in Wisconsin? The answer depends on how many prior DUI charge convictions you have. DUI stands for Driving under the Influence. In Wisconsin, DUI, “drunk driving,” and OWI (Operating while Intoxicated) are the same. This article will examine the various DUI charges and their penalties in Wisconsin.
First Offense DUI is Not a Felony in Wisconsin
A first offense DUI is not a felony in Wisconsin. Most importantly, a first offense DUI is not a criminal charge in Wisconsin. However, the penalties are the following:
- six to nine month drivers license revocation;
- Ignition Interlock Device up to one year;
- Fine of $766.50 to $974.00;
- 6 points against your driving record;
- Alcohol assessment
Second Offense DUI is Not a Felony in Wisconsin
A second offense DUI in Wisconsin is not a felony. But it is a criminal misdemeanor. As a result, it requires a mandatory jail sentence of at least five days. In addition, the other penalties are:
- Twelve to eighteen months drivers license revocation;
- Ignition Interlock Device for twelve to eighteen months;
- Fine of $1,429 to $1,681;
- Jail for a period of at least 5 days up to a maximum of 6 months
Third Offense DUI is Not a Felony in Wisconsin
A third offense DUI in Wisconsin is not usually a felony. But it is a criminal misdemeanor. However, a third offense DUI is a felony if a child was in the vehicle. It requires a minimum of 45 days in jail and a maximum of one year in jail. In addition, the other penalties are:
- 24 months to 36 months drivers license revocation;
- Ignition Interlock Device for up to 3 years;
- Fine of $1,744 to $4,280; and
- Jail for anywhere between 45 days and one year.
Fourth Offense DUI is a Felony in Wisconsin
A fourth offense DUI in Wisconsin is a felony. The penalties for a fourth offense DUI in Wisconsin are:
- Drivers license revocation of at least ten years;
- Fine of $2,323 to $7,149;
- Jail of 60 days to one year plus one to six years in prison; and
- Ignition Interlock Device for up to 3 years
Do I Need a DUI Lawyer?
If you are charged with DUI you should hire a DUI lawyer. DUI charges are extremely serious. Even a first offense DUI can result in a costly and inconvenient ignition interlock device. Also, Ignition interlock devices can cost thousands of dollars.
A DUI lawyer can help by:
- Challenging the basis for the traffic stop. For example, if the police had no reason to stop you, the judge will dismiss your DUI charge. Additionally, the police sometimes make up a reason to stop and harass you. This is illegal. And a DUI lawyer can tell you if the police had a legal reason to stop you.
- Challenging the length of the traffic stop. For instance, the police illegally extend a traffic stop to gather evidence of drunk driving. Such actions violate your constitutional rights. Certainly, a DUI lawyer can look at your case to determine if the police illegally extended the traffic stop.
- Challenging the results of the breathalyzer test. Wisconsin uses very old breath testing machines. Therefore, these machines can be extremely inaccurate. An inaccurate breath test result can lead to dismissing your DUI charge.
DUI lawyer Christopher Glinski has years of experience fighting DUI charges in Racine, Wisconsin. Call for a free consultation.