By Carlos Gamino. Click here for audio version.

In Wisconsin, it’s illegal to operate a vehicle while you’re intoxicated. Formally, the state can charge you with the crime of operating while intoxicated, or OWI. In other states (and in everyday conversation), that’s called driving under the influence, or DUI. When you’re operating a vehicle while intoxicated and someone dies as a result of your actions, you could end up being charged with homicide – and a conviction can mean prison time. Here’s what you need to know.

What Happens if You’re Charged With a DUI Homicide in Wisconsin?

You can be charged with homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle if you’re involved in a fatal accident involving alcohol. If you were driving and caused an accident with a prohibited blood alcohol concentration at the time of the incident (it’s currently 0.08 unless you’re under the age of 21 or you have one or more previous OWI convictions) and someone dies as a result, you can expect to be charged.

The prosecutor will try to prove that you were under the influence by bringing in evidence such as your breath test, a blood or urine test, and evidence that the officer collected at the scene of the accident.

Related: What are your rights when you’re in police custody?

DUI homicide is a Class D felony. That means the criminal penalty is up to 15 years in prison and up to 10 years of extended supervision. The judge in your case may also order you to pay fines of up to $100,000.

However, if you have a previous alcohol-related conviction, you may be looking at a Class C felony. The penalty for a Class C felony is up to 25 years in prison and 15 years of extended supervision (as well as fines of up to $100,000.)

What Should You Do if You’re Charged With DUI Homicide in Wisconsin?

If you’re charged with DUI homicide in Wisconsin, you may want to talk to a Wisconsin OWI attorney right away. We may be able to help you, so call us for a free DUI/OWI consultation – we’re at 414-383-6700. We’ll evaluate your case and give you the legal advice you need right now, and we can develop a strategy that gets you the best possible outcome.

Attorney Carlos Gamino