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Common OWI Plea Bargains

By Carlos Gamino

If you’re like many people, you know that a plea bargain is a deal with the prosecutor in a criminal case. In a plea bargain, the prosecutor offers a lesser charge in exchange for a more lenient sentence or an agreement to drop other charges. But can you use a plea bargain in an OWI case?

Can You Use a Plea Bargain in an OWI Case?

You can use a plea bargain in an OWI case in Wisconsin if the prosecutor agrees to it. Your attorney will most likely talk to the prosecutor about your case before you ever go to trial, which means they’ll have the opportunity to strike a bargain.

One type of plea deal that people use in Wisconsin after an OWI is referred to as “wet reckless.” Essentially, you’ll be agreeing that you drove recklessly while under the influence, which helps you avoid an OWI conviction and still gets the prosecutor a “win.”

That’s not to say that all prosecutors will think this type of deal is a good one – or that they’ll even agree to it. These types of plea deals are most common in cases where the person has no other convictions and their blood alcohol content wasn’t too far over the legal limit at the time of the offense.

Related: OWI vs. DUI in Wisconsin

Could a Wet Reckless Plea Deal Be the Right Choice for You?

The bottom line is that if a court convicts you of reckless driving, you’ll still face serious penalties. However, the penalties are not as harsh as they are for drunk driving – and that may make it a worthwhile choice in your situation. You should absolutely discuss the pros and cons of accepting a plea deal with your attorney, who can give you case-specific advice, tell you about possible outcomes, and answer all of your questions.

Do You Need to Talk to an OWI Attorney in Wisconsin?

If you’ve been charged with OWI, we may be able to help you – we defend our clients in a variety of ways, including seeking OWI plea bargains when appropriate. Call our office at 414-383-6700 to tell us about your case. We’ll answer all your questions and do what we can to get you the best possible outcome.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-01-17T06:25:50-06:00February 22nd, 2021|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|0 Comments

Do I Need a Lawyer for a First-Time DUI/OWI?

By Carlos Gamino

If you’re facing drunk driving charges, there’s a good chance that you’re pretty concerned about the process ahead of you – and that’s totally normal. You may be wondering whether you need a lawyer for a first-time DUI or OWI charge in Wisconsin, what the possible penalties are, and whether your OWI will stay on your record forever. This guide explains.

Do I Need a Lawyer for a First-Time DUI/OWI in Wisconsin?

Any time you’re involved in the legal system, you’re entitled to legal counsel – it’s your right. Whether you choose to work with a lawyer is up to you, though. For most people, working with an attorney is incredibly important. A Wisconsin OWI attorney can explain the laws and the legal process, answer your questions and get you the best possible outcome in court.

Related: OWI dismissal information

Penalties for a First Time OWI in Wisconsin

If nobody is injured, you don’t wreck your vehicle or someone else’s property, and there are no other unusual circumstances in your first OWI case, the penalties are generally as follows:

  • Driver’s license suspension for up to 9 months
  • Fines up to $300
  • A $365 OWI surcharge
  • Possible ignition interlock device (IID), depending on your intoxication level at the time of the incident
  • Mandatory alcohol and drug assessment
  • Driver’s license reinstatement fee when you apply for a new license

Things change if there’s a minor under the age of 16 in the car with you at the time of the offense, or if you get into an accident, someone is injured or killed, or you damage other property. In cases like these, it doesn’t matter if it’s your first offense – you will pick up additional criminal charges or face additional criminal penalties.

Related: Will you go to jail for a second offense OWI in Wisconsin?

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About a First-Time DUI/OWI in Wisconsin?

If you’ve been accused of driving under the influence or operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, whether it’s your first offense or your fifth, we may be able to help you. There are defenses to OWI in Wisconsin. Call our office at 414-383-6700 for a free consultation. We can answer your questions, discuss possible outcomes and give you the case-specific legal advice you need right now.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-01-17T06:23:30-06:00February 17th, 2021|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|0 Comments

Does an OWI Stay on Your Wisconsin Criminal Record Forever?

By Carlos Gamino

If the state of Wisconsin convicts you of operating while intoxicated, or OWI, will it stay on your criminal record forever? How will the record impact your future, and what happens if you get another OWI with one in your past? Here’s what you need to know.

How Long Does an OWI Stay on Your Record in Wisconsin?

An OWI stays on your record forever in the state of Wisconsin. It doesn’t “fall off” after a certain period of time has passed. In fact, any drunk driving offense you’ve picked up since 1989 builds up in your lifetime total, which can affect future sentencing.

Future Sentencing With an OWI in Your Past

A prior DUI can affect current or future OWI sentencing. The number of prior DUI offenses you have determines the penalty you’ll face. Check out the following table for more information.

ConvictionFine and Jail TimeDriving Consequences
First offense OWIFine: $150 to $300Revocation: 6 to 9 months
Causing injury while OWI with no prior OWI offense or chemical test refusalFine: $300 to $2,000 Jail time: 30 days to 1 yearRevocation: 1 to 2 years plus confinement length
Causing injury while OWIL with prior OWI offense or chemical test refusalFine: Up to $10,000
Jail time: Up to 6 years
Revocation: 1 to 2 years plus confinement length
Causing great bodily harm by OWIFine: Up to $25,000
Jail time: Up to 12.5 years
Revocation: 2 years plus confinement length
Homicide while OWI with no prior OWIFine: Up to $100,000
Jail time: Up to 25 years
Revocation: 5 years plus confinement length
Homicide while OWI with a prior OWI-related offenseFine: Up to $100,000
Jail time: Up to 40 years
Revocation: 5 years plus confinement length
Second offense OWI with no prior OWI within 10 years, and with no great bodily harm or homicide by intoxicated use during your lifeFine: $150 to $300Revocation: 6 to 9 months
Second offense OWI with prior OWI within 10 years, or an offense with great bodily harm or homicide by intoxicated use at any prior point during your lifeFine: $350 to $1,100 Jail time: 5 days to 6 monthsRevocation: 12 to 18 months plus confinement length
Third offense OWIFine: $600 to $1,200 Jail time: 45 days to 1 yearRevocation: 2 to 3 years plus confinement length
Fourth offense OWIFine: $600 to $10,000
Jail time: 60 days to 6 years
Revocation: 2 to 3 years plus confinement length
Fifth or sixth offense OWIFine: $600 to $25,000 Jail time: Up to 10 yearsRevocation: 2 to 3 years plus confinement length
Seventh, eighth or ninth offense OWIFine: Up to $25,000
Jail time: 3 to 12.5 years
Revocation: 2 to 3 years plus confinement length
Tenth offense OWIFine: Up to $50,000
Jail time: 4 to 15 years
Revocation: 2 to 3 years plus confinement length

What if You’re Accused of OWI?

If you’ve been arrested for operating while intoxicated, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 now to talk to a caring, knowledgeable and experienced professional who can answer your questions and help you get the best possible outcome.

Carlos Gamino

By |2020-11-16T15:29:15-06:00January 3rd, 2021|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on Does an OWI Stay on Your Wisconsin Criminal Record Forever?

Can You Get Out of an OWI in Wisconsin? 3 Ways to Get Your OWI Dismissed

By Carlos Gamino

If you’ve been arrested for operating while intoxicated, or OWI, you’ve probably wondered if there’s any way you can get out of it. In some cases, yes, it is possible to get an OWI dismissed. Here’s what you need to know.

Can You Get Out of an OWI in Wisconsin? 3 Ways to Get Your OWI Dismissed

First things first: There is no way to predict how a judge will rule. Any attorney who tells you he or she will “for sure” get your OWI dismissed isn’t being entirely honest with you. Sure, there are many circumstances in which it’s possible to have an OWI dismissed – but ultimately, it’s up to the legal system to make that decision, not your lawyer.

There are some ways that attorneys are able to get OWI cases dismissed in Wisconsin, however, including:

  • Challenging the results of a breath test
  • Proving that police stopped you illegally
  • Showing that the police did not have probable cause to administer a breath test

This isn’t a complete list. Your attorney will review your case and make a determination about the best possible defense based on your situation. However, here’s a closer look at the ways attorneys can sometimes get OWI cases dismissed.

Related: Will you go to jail for OWI, second offense in Wisconsin?

OWI Dismissal Situation #1: Challenging the Results of a Breath Test

Judges can dismiss an OWI case when an attorney can prove that the breath test was inaccurate. There’s a lot of science on why breath tests can come up wrong, whether they’re administered the wrong way, whether you are on a medication or have a medical condition that could affect the test results, or whether the device was improperly calibrated or inaccurate by nature.

OWI Dismissal Situation #2: Proving That Police Stopped You Illegally

The police must have a valid reason for stopping you while you’re driving. A law enforcement officer can stop you if you:

  • Violate a traffic law
  • Have an equipment violation (like a burned-out turn signal)
  • Are driving erratically

They can also stop you if your vehicle fits the description of a vehicle involved in a crime, or if you roll up to a traffic checkpoint.

If the police stop you illegally, your attorney may be able to get your case thrown out of court.

OWI Dismissal Situation #3: Showing That the Police Did Not Have Probable Cause to Administer a Breath Test

Police can’t just stop you for having a broken taillight or speeding and require you to take a breath test. Law enforcement officers must reasonably believe that you are intoxicated before requesting that you take a breath-alcohol test.

If the police stop you and you deny that you’ve been drinking, and you refuse to take a field sobriety test, the officer really doesn’t have anything to prove that you’re drunk (other than the way you were driving or the way you’re acting during your interaction. He or she might request that you take a breath test, and that may be completely valid – especially if the officer smells alcohol on your breath or watched you stumble out of a bar and into your car.

Pro tip: If you refuse to take a breath test, you do so at your own risk. You could lose your license for at least a year.

Do You Need a Lawyer to Get Out of an OWI in Wisconsin?

For most people, the best way to approach an OWI – and any other criminal case, for that matter – is to work with an experienced attorney. Attorneys are in and out of court every day, and they know what works according to the law (and what doesn’t).

If you’ve been arrested for OWI, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 now to talk to a caring, knowledgeable and experienced professional who can point you in the right direction.

Carlos Gamino

By |2020-11-16T15:26:55-06:00December 28th, 2020|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on Can You Get Out of an OWI in Wisconsin? 3 Ways to Get Your OWI Dismissed

Getting an Occupational License After OWI in Wisconsin: What You Need to Know

By Carlos Gamino

The state of Wisconsin allows some people to get an occupational license after an OWI – but not everyone gets one. Here’s what you need to know.

What is an Occupational License in Wisconsin?

An occupational license is a restricted driver’s license that lets you drive to certain places at certain times when your driving privileges have been suspended or revoked. You can use an occupational license to drive to work, school, the doctor, the grocery store, church and other places that are necessary for you to go – but you have to ask the state for it.

Can You Get an Occupational License After an OWI in Wisconsin?

You may be able to get an occupational license after an OWI in Wisconsin. To do so, you have to file a petition with the Department of Motor Vehicles and pay a filing fee. You also have to submit proof that you have the appropriate type of insurance.

An occupational license is not guaranteed – the DMV can (and will) turn you down if you don’t meet the criteria or if your driving is a risk to others on Wisconsin roadways.

Related: What to know about OWI defenses

What is the Waiting Period for an Occupational License in Wisconsin?

Depending on the reason your driving privileges were suspended or revoked, you may have to wait before you can apply for an occupational license. For example, if you have a second or third (or subsequent) OWI, you have to wait at least 45 days after your conviction before you’re even eligible for an occupational license. You may have to wait longer; if the OWI involved bodily injury, great bodily harm or homicide, or if you refused a chemical test at the time of the offense, your waiting period will be different.

Do You Have to Be a Professional Driver to Get an Occupational License?

Despite the name, you do not have to be a professional driver to get an occupational license. You may be able to get this type of restricted license to go to any job, to take your kids to school (or to attend school yourself), to go to church or conduct “household business,” like going to the grocery store and paying bills.

How Much Can You Drive With an Occupational License?

You can drive up to 60 hours each week if you have an occupational license (but no more than 12 hours of driving time in one day). You’ll have to list where you’ll go – such as your work or school address – and provide times that you expect to be on the road when you fill out your application.

What if You’ve Been Arrested for OWI?

If you’ve been arrested for OWI in Wisconsin, it’s probably in your best interest to talk to an attorney as soon as possible. We may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 now to talk to an experienced attorney.

Carlos Gamino

By |2020-11-16T15:32:37-06:00December 7th, 2020|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on Getting an Occupational License After OWI in Wisconsin: What You Need to Know

What Are Your Rights if You’re Stopped by Police?

Your Rights if You’re Stopped by Police - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

If you’re like many people, you know that you have some rights when you’re stopped by the police – but what are they, and where do your rights end? Here’s what you need to know.

Your Rights if You’re Stopped by Police on the Street

Being stopped by the police is scary, especially when you know that things can go badly quickly. The last thing you want to do is escalate a situation with the police, but no matter what happens, you do have rights. You have these rights regardless of your legal status in the United States, whether or not you’re guilty of a crime, and in every location where you may encounter police.

You may be stopped by police in public, such as when you’re walking down the street, or when you’re pulled over in a car. Police can even come to your door. One thing remains the same: You have rights, and it’s okay for you to assert them. And while it’s never your responsibility to deescalate a situation with the police (that is their responsibility), you should avoid doing anything that could cause police to react in an unfavorable way. So what are your rights if the police stop you while you’re walking down the street?

You always have the right to remain silent when you encounter police. The police have the right to demand that you identify yourself, though – and if you choose not to, they may choose to search you. If you refuse to identify yourself, the police might think you’re up to something. Your right to remain silent means that you don’t have to answer questions about where you’re going or coming from, where you live or what you’re doing.

If you choose to use your right to remain silent, you should say so out loud. That can be as simple as saying, “I would like to use my right to remain silent.”

Related: What to do if police violate your rights

You don’t have to consent to a search, either of yourself or your belongings – but the police are allowed to pat you down if they believe you have a weapon. Remember, too, that even if you don’t consent to a search, the police might still choose to search you or your belongings against your will.

What to Do if Police Stop You

If the police stop you, keep your hands in plain view and don’t make any sudden movements. You can assert your right to remain silent, but know that if you do so, the police might think that you’re guilty of something – and they may arrest you. Don’t talk about where you were going, what you were doing or where you were; let the police know you’d like to speak to an attorney before you have any kind of conversation with them.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer Because You’ve Encountered Police?

If you’ve been arrested for any crime, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 now to talk to a caring, knowledgeable and experienced professional who can point you in the right direction.

Carlos Gamino

By |2020-09-19T15:26:24-05:00November 30th, 2020|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on What Are Your Rights if You’re Stopped by Police?

3 Possible OWI Defenses Your Attorney Might Use

3 Possible OWI Defenses Your Attorney Might Use - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

If you’re like many people, you know that an OWI conviction can be devastating – but is it even possible to defend against one? For most people, the best way to defend themselves against these types of charges is to work with a knowledgeable, experienced attorney who can help.

3 Possible OWI Defenses Your Attorney Might Use

Your attorney can help defend you against OWI charges in court. Every case is different, but there are several ways your attorney may choose to defend you. Some of the most common OWI defenses include:

  • Breath test errors
  • Lack of probable cause
  • Unreliable field sobriety tests

Here’s a closer look at each.

Breath Test Errors in OWI Cases

Breath tests aren’t perfect. In fact, they make some common errors – and your attorney may choose to bring them up in your case. Some of the most common problems with tests that measure the alcohol on your breath include:

  • Calibration errors
  • Interference from radio frequencies
  • Your own physiological and medical conditions
  • Failure (on the police’s part) to properly maintain the system

These tests don’t measure the amount of alcohol in your blood, but only the alcohol in your blood (not the alcohol on your breath) can impair you. They don’t demonstrate your blood alcohol concentration, which can work in your favor in court.

Lack of Probable Cause in OWI Cases

Sometimes police don’t have probable cause to stop you, and sometimes they don’t have enough of a reason to legally arrest you. Really, whether an arrest is legal depends on the facts the police officer has when he or she chooses to arrest you. Some things can indicate that you’re impaired, like glassy or bloodshot eyes and difficulty with balance, but those things can be attributed to other causes, too. If that’s the case in your situation, your attorney may argue that your stop or arrest was unjustified.

Unreliable Field Sobriety Tests in OWI Cases

Field sobriety tests aren’t really accurate predictors of whether you’re impaired. Even when these tests are administered properly, they’re not right often enough. You may be asked to walk in a straight line, recite the alphabet backward or balance on one foot – but there are people who can’t do those things when they’re not impaired, as well.

What Should You Do if You’re Accused of OWI?

An OWI conviction can change your life, so generally, it’s a good idea to get legal advice from an experienced OWI lawyer. Call our office at 414-383-6700 today to find out how we can help you.

Carlos Gamino

By |2020-09-19T14:16:13-05:00October 26th, 2020|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on 3 Possible OWI Defenses Your Attorney Might Use

Will You Go to Jail for OWI, 2nd Offense?

OWI Second Offense - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

An OWI (second offense) is a serious crime in Wisconsin, and if the state convicts you, you’re facing serious penalties. Each OWI you get here stays on your record, too, because the state wants to know if you’re a habitual offender. The penalties for your second OWI are tougher than your first, and if you get more OWIs in the future, the penalties continue to increase in severity.

Will You Go to Jail for OWI, 2nd Offense?

You might go to jail for your second OWI. It depends on how long it’s been since your last OWI and whether anyone was hurt when you committed your first offense.

OWI Second Offense With No Prior OWI Within 10 Years

If it’s been 10 years or more since your first OWI, you most likely won’t go to jail for your second OWI – unless someone’s hurt or you had a minor under the age of 16 in the vehicle with you. You will, however, lose your driver’s license for 6 to 9 months. You’ll also have to pay a fine between $150 and $300, and pay an OWI surcharge of $435. You’ll also have to put an ignition interlock device on your vehicle (at your own expense) or attend a 24/7 sobriety program for a year.

Related: Criminal traffic offenses in Wisconsin

The consequences change if you have a minor under the age of 16 in the car with you at the time of the offense. You’ll face all the same penalties as you would for a standard OWI second offense, but you could spend between 5 days and 6 months in jail.

If someone is hurt or killed as a result of your OWI, you’ll face more serious consequences:

  • Causing injury: Fines of up to $10,000, up to 6 years in prison, and license revocation for 1 to 2 years plus the time of your confinement
  • Causing great bodily harm: Fines of up to $25,000, up to 12 years and 6 months in prison, and license revocation for 2 years plus the time of your confinement
  • Homicide: Fines of up to $100,000, up to 40 years in prison (it would be 25 if this was your first offense), and license revocation for 5 years plus the time of your confinement

OWI Second Offense With a Prior OWI Within 10 Years, or Great Bodily Harm or Homicide at Any Point in Your Past

If your last OWI was within the past 10 years, if your first OWI caused someone great bodily harm, or if you were convicted of homicide related to your OWI, you’ll pay fines between $350 and $1,100. You’ll have to pay the $435 OWI surcharge, too. You’ll lose your license for 12 to 18 months, and you’ll have to have an ignition interlock device put on your vehicle. You could spend between 5 days and 6 months in jail. In some cases, judges offer the Safe Streets option, but that’s something you’ll have to talk to your OWI attorney about.

Related: 5 things you need to know about drunk driving causing injury

Do You Need to Talk to an OWI Attorney in Wisconsin?

If you’re accused of OWI, whether it’s your first, second or subsequent offense, we may be able to help you. Call us as soon as you can at 414-383-6700 to schedule your free consultation with an OWI attorney now.

Carlos Gamino

By |2020-05-16T17:54:31-05:00July 20th, 2020|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on Will You Go to Jail for OWI, 2nd Offense?

What to Do if You’re Charged With OWI Causing Great Bodily Harm

By Attorney Carlos Gamino

OWI Causing Great Bodily Harm - Carlos Gamino

The state of Wisconsin takes drunk driving charges seriously, whether it’s a first offense or a tenth offense. But if you’re charged with OWI causing great bodily harm, you could spend the next several years in prison.

Here’s what you need to know.

What to Do if You’re Charged With OWI Causing Great Bodily Harm

You’ll spend time behind bars if the state convicts you of OWI causing great bodily harm. You can be under the influence of alcohol or drugs – the method of your intoxication doesn’t matter. Under Wisconsin law, great bodily harm is defined this way:

“Bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes serious permanent disfigurement, or which causes a permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ or other serious bodily injury.”

These are the penalties for OWI causing great bodily harm in Wisconsin:

  • Fines of up to $25,000
  • A $435 OWI surcharge
  • Up to 12.5 years in prison
  • License revocation for 2 years plus the length of your confinement
  • Mandatory ignition interlock device (at your own expense) if it is not your first offense or if your body’s alcohol concentration was 0.15 or higher at the time of the offense or a 24/7 sobriety program required for 1 to 5 years plus confinement length

If you’re charged with OWI causing great bodily harm, you may want to talk to a Milwaukee OWI attorney right away. Because the penalties for this type of OWI are so serious – even if it’s your first offense – you can benefit from legal guidance.

Don’t talk to police. Don’t answer any questions, and don’t walk into the courtroom for your arraignment (when the judge reads you your formal charges) without weighing your legal options first. A guilty plea, even if you are guilty, may not be the best choice for you. Get legal guidance first. You have the right to call an attorney from jail, and you have the right to legal representation.

Do You Need to Talk to an OWI Attorney?

If you’ve been accused of OWI causing great bodily harm, we may be able to help you. Call us as soon as you can. We’re available at 414-383-6700. We can also talk to you if you’re calling on behalf of someone who’s in jail.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2020-05-16T18:06:56-05:00July 14th, 2020|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on What to Do if You’re Charged With OWI Causing Great Bodily Harm

OWI First Offense: What You Need to Know

By Carlos Gamino

An OWI (first offense) in Wisconsin is serious, and it’ll stay on your record forever. However, it’s a civil offense, so it’s treated more like a traffic violation than a crime in most cases. You’ll lose your driver’s license, pay a fine (between $150 and $300) and pay a $435 OWI surcharge. There are some things that can make a first-offense OWI even more serious, though.

OWI, First Offense: What You Need to Know

An OWI conviction, even if it’s your first offense, is serious – most importantly because it stays on your record forever. That means if you get another OWI in the future, the state will treat it like your second offense; likewise, your third and subsequent offenses will keep racking up, and the penalties for each are more severe than the last.

Here are three things you need to know about OWI, first offense:

1. You will lose your driver’s license.

2. You’ll pay fines and an OWI surcharge.

3. You may have to have an ignition interlock device put on your vehicle.

Here’s a closer look at each.

#1. Revocation of Your Driver’s License

If a judge convicts you of operating while intoxicated, even if it’s your first offense, you’re going to lose your driver’s license for 6 to 9 months. You’ll also lose your commercial driver’s license. However, you may be eligible to apply for an occupational license. An occupational license is a restricted driver’s license that lets you drive to and from work, as well as a small number of other places, during certain times.

Related: Wisconsin OWI information

#2. Fines and the OWI Surcharge

The state of Wisconsin imposes fines on people convicted of OWI for the first time. You’ll pay between $150 and $300 in fines, and you’ll also have to pay a $435 OWI surcharge. (For the record, every OWI case includes that surcharge.)

#3. Ignition Interlock Devices

If your body’s alcohol concentration is 0.15 or more and you’re convicted of OWI as a first offense, you’ll have to get an ignition interlock device installed (at your expense) in your vehicle or participate in a 24/7 sobriety program for one year.

Do You Need to Talk to an OWI Attorney?

If you’re accused of OWI and it’s your first offense, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 today to schedule a consultation with an experienced and knowledgeable OWI attorney today.

Carlos Gamino

By |2020-05-16T18:31:54-05:00July 6th, 2020|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on OWI First Offense: What You Need to Know