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Can You Get an Occupational License After OWI in Wisconsin?

By Carlos Gamino

If you’re convicted of operating while intoxicated in Wisconsin, you’ll lose your driving privileges – there’s no question about it. Judges are required to revoke or suspend your license. However, some people qualify to apply for an occupational license. Here’s what you need to know.

Can You Get an Occupational License After OWI in Wisconsin?

It’s possible to get an occupational license after an OWI conviction in Wisconsin. An occupational license is a license that lets you drive to work or school, or to handle household essentials, while your driving privileges are revoked or suspended.

When Are You Eligible for an Occupational License?

You become eligible for an occupational license after a certain amount of time has passed since your conviction. The following table outlines the required waiting times based on your specific conviction.

Your ConvictionWaiting Period Before Applying
First-offense OWINo waiting period
Second or subsequent OWI45 days
Causing injury while intoxicated60 days
OWI with great bodily harm120 days
Negligent homicide while intoxicated120 days
Refusal of breath or blood test, first offense30 days
Refusal of breath or blood test, second offense90 days
Refusal of breath or blood test, third offense120 days

Your waiting period begins on the effective date of your license revocation or suspension. That means if your license is revoked on March 1 for a second-offense OWI, you must wait until April 14 to apply (that’s 45 days later).

Conditions for Getting an Occupational License

Before you can apply for an occupational license, you must install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. In fact, you must install one on every vehicle titled or registered in your name.

Related: 3 ways to get an OWI dismissed in Wisconsin

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About OWI and Your Driving Privileges?

If you’ve been accused of OWI, you need a tough attorney who’s willing to fight for you. Call our office at 414-383-6700 now to schedule your free consultation with an experienced professional – we may be able to help you. We’ll work hard to get the best possible outcome in your case.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2022-07-19T13:56:39-05:00July 19th, 2022|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on Can You Get an Occupational License After OWI in Wisconsin?

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

By Carlos Gamino

When you’re convicted of operating while intoxicated in Wisconsin, you may have to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. In fact, a significant number of people convicted of OWI in Wisconsin have to install these devices – so here’s what you need to know.

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device is a device that requires you to blow into a mouthpiece to test your breath alcohol concentration before you can start your car. If the device – commonly called an IID – detects a concentration above 0.02 percent, your vehicle won’t start. If your alcohol concentration reaches that level after you start the vehicle, the device will activate your emergency lights and horn to draw attention to you.

Won’t You Lose Your Driving Privileges if You’re Convicted of OWI in Wisconsin?

You will lose your driving privileges if you’re convicted of OWI in Wisconsin, but after a certain amount of time has passed, you may be eligible to apply for an occupational license. An occupational license lets you drive to and from work or school, or to handle essential household activities. If the state allows you to have an occupational license, the condition of using it is that you must have an IID installed in the car you’re using. You must have an IID installed in every vehicle that’s registered or titled in your name before you apply for an occupational license (even if you only drive one vehicle).

If you choose not to apply for an occupational license and wait for your driving privileges to be restored, you’ll still have to have an IID installed for the amount of time that the judge in your case has ordered. In fact, judges are required to order IIDs for:

  • All first-time OWI offenders whose alcohol concentration was 1.5 percent or higher at the time of the crime
  • All repeat OWI offenders
  • All drivers who refuse to provide a breath or blood sample for a chemical test

How Much Does it Cost to Install an IID in Wisconsin?

Every installer charges a different amount for installation, monthly service and removal of the IID. You can shop around for the best prices, but generally speaking, it costs between $900 and $1,200 per year to keep an IID active on one vehicle.

Installation ranges from $45 to $150, depending on the type of ignition your vehicle has; monthly service fees are generally between $60 and $80, and removal is usually under $100.

Related: Do I need a lawyer for first-time OWI?

How Long Do You Have to Keep an IID on Your Vehicle?

You have to keep an IID on your vehicle for as long as the judge orders you to. You’ll have it for at least one year.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About OWI Charges and IIDs?

If you’re facing OWI charges, it’s in your best interest to get legal advice from a qualified professional. Call our office at 414-383-6700 now to schedule a free consultation now – we can give you the help you need.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2022-05-20T21:00:52-05:00April 17th, 2022|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

Wisconsin’s Legal Limits for Drinking and Driving

By Carlos Gamino

If you’re like many people, you know that the legal limit for drinking and driving in Wisconsin is 0.08 – that means if your blood-alcohol or breath-alcohol concentration is 8 percent, you’re likely to be hauled off to jail and charged with operating while intoxicated, or OWI. But the law is a little more detailed than that, so here’s what you need to know.

Wisconsin’s legal limit for most people is 0.08. However, if you have three or more prior OWI convictions, your legal limit is 0.02. And if you’re under the age of 21, you have to be completely sober – any alcohol in your system can earn you an OWI charge.

Related: 3 ways to get an OWI dismissed in Wisconsin

Generally, your body weight and biological sex have a lot to do with how alcohol concentrates in your body. The following tables outline about how many drinks you can have in one hour; a drink is classified as one beer, one shot of alcohol, or one glass of wine. Keep in mind that a shot of tequila and a Long Island iced tea contain vastly different amounts of alcohol – and remember, these are estimates and not exact measurements.

Table 1: Alcohol Chart for Men

Bolded numbers are over the legal limit.

Body Weight1 drink2 drinks3 drinks4 drinks5 drinks6 drinks
120 lbs..031.063.094.125.156.188
130 lbs..029.058.087.116.145.174
140 lbs..027.054.080.107.134.161
150 lbs..025.050.075.100.125.151
160 lbs..023.047.070.094.117.141
170 lbs..022.045.066.088.110.132
180 lbs..021.042.063.083.104.125
190 lbs..020.040.059.079.099.119
200 lbs..019.038.056.075.094.113
210 lbs..018.036.053.071.090.107
220 lbs..017.034.051.068.085.102

Table 2: Alcohol Chart for Women

Bolded numbers are over the legal limit.

Body Weight1 drink2 drinks3 drinks4 drinks5 drinks6 drinks
90 lbs..053.106.159.212.265.318
100 lbs..047.094.141.188.235.282
110 lbs..042.084.126.168.210.252
120 lbs..038.076.114.152.190.228
130 lbs..036.072.108.144.180.216
140 lbs..033.066.099.132.165.198
150 lbs..031.062.093.124.155.186
160 lbs..028.056.084.112.140.168
170 lbs..027.054.081.108.135.162
180 lbs..026.052.078.104.130.156

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About OWI Charges?

If you’ve been accused of operating while intoxicated, we may be able to help you. Call our office as soon as you can – we’re at 414-383-6700. You can schedule your free consultation with an experienced professional to get the legal advice you need.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2022-05-20T21:07:44-05:00April 4th, 2022|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on Wisconsin’s Legal Limits for Drinking and Driving

What Happens if You Get a DUI Around the Holidays?

By Carlos Gamino. Click here for audio version.

The holidays are right around the corner, and for many people in Wisconsin, that means DUI charges are coming. But what happens if you get a DUI during the holidays – will you go to court sometime next year, or will you spend Thanksgiving or Christmas locked in a cell? This guide explains.

What Happens if You Get a DUI Around the Holidays?

Getting a DUI during the holidays is the same as it is any other time of year; you’ll be facing harsh criminal penalties and could end up spending time behind bars. That can really throw a wrench in your holiday plans, so here’s what you need to know.

Going to Court During the Holidays

In Wisconsin, the courts are typically open and hearing cases Monday through Friday during normal business hours – and that means if you’re caught driving under the influence on a Friday night, you’ll likely have to wait until Monday morning (or later) to see a judge. You could spend the entire weekend in jail.

Holiday hours vary quite a bit for Wisconsin courts, though (the circuit courts’ schedules are listed here). Many are closed on Veterans Day, which falls on a Thursday, and all of them are closed on Thanksgiving Day; many are also closed the next day (Friday, November 27), as well. Courts are closed on December 24 (a Friday) as well as Thursday, December 31 and Friday, January 1. That means if you’re arrested for drunk driving and kept in jail, you won’t see a judge until the next business day. For example, if you’re arrested for DUI on Wednesday, December 30, you won’t see a judge until after the court opens on Monday, January 3.

What if You’re Caught at a DUI Checkpoint in Wisconsin?

The police in Wisconsin can’t set up DUI checkpoints at specific locations, but they can – and do – put out patrols at times they believe a significant number of drunk drivers will be on the roads. The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office has “Operation Drive Sober,” for example, which puts extra officers on the roads from Friday afternoon through Sunday morning to look for signs of impaired driving. Often, police departments all over the state do the same on holidays, sending out extra patrols to find and arrest drunk drivers.

What Should You Do if You’re Arrested for DUI on a Holiday?

The first thing you should do if you’re arrested for DUI on a holiday is get in touch with a Wisconsin drunk driving attorney. Your attorney can help determine whether you have to remain in jail until you see a judge – and then your lawyer can represent you when it’s your turn in court.

Do You Need to Talk to a DUI Lawyer in Wisconsin?

If you or someone you care about has been arrested for DUI in Wisconsin, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 for a free consultation now; we’ll ask you some questions and make a plan of action that gets you the best possible outcome.Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2021-11-23T11:34:34-06:00November 16th, 2021|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on What Happens if You Get a DUI Around the Holidays?

Can You Challenge Field Sobriety Testing?

By Carlos Gamino

Field sobriety tests are extremely common during drunk driving stops. It’s not unusual for a police officer to say, “Could you step out of the car, please?” when he or she suspects a person of driving under the influence – but how accurate are field sobriety tests, and is it possible to challenge them in court?

Related: OWI vs. DUI in Wisconsin

Can You Challenge Field Sobriety Testing?

You and your attorney can absolutely challenge field sobriety testing. Your attorney may challenge based on your physical condition, age, weight or even your driving experience; he or she might also discuss the conditions on the roadside, the police officer’s experience in conducting these types of tests, and whether you were ill or wearing contact lenses at the time of your field sobriety test.

The bottom line is that these types of tests contain questionable methods – methods that may not tell a police officer whether you’re drunk or sober. For example, people pulled over for drunk driving may be asked to:

  • Stand on one foot while counting
  • Walk along an imaginary line
  • Touch one finger to the tip of their nose slowly
  • Recite the alphabet or count backward
  • Follow a pen or a light that a police officer holds in front of their face (this is called a nystagmus test)

How many of those things can you do under normal circumstances? How many of them can you do if you’re under a tremendous amount of pressure because you know that if you mess up, you’re going to jail – even if you haven’t had a drop to drink? The reality is that there are many reasons people struggle with each of these “tests.”

Related: First offense OWI in Wisconsin

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Challenging a Field Sobriety Test?

Many attorneys look for ways to challenge field sobriety tests because they don’t accurately predict how “drunk” a person is. If you were arrested for drinking and driving after taking a field sobriety test, we may be able to help you. Call our office at 414-383-6700 now – we will be happy to answer your questions about OWI charges and develop a strategy that gets you the best possible outcome.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T09:24:39-05:00April 11th, 2021|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on Can You Challenge Field Sobriety Testing?

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 |2021-07-17T11:41:48-05:00July 20th, 2020|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on Will You Go to Jail for OWI, 2nd Offense?

Wisconsin Alcohol Laws

By Carlos Gamino

Wisconsin Alcohol Laws - Carlos Gamino

In Wisconsin, the possession and use of alcohol is heavily regulated – and everyone in the state is subject to Wisconsin alcohol laws. Here’s what you need to know.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Drink in Wisconsin?

Like every other state in the U.S., Wisconsin requires you to be at least 21 years old in order to drink alcohol. You can’t possess alcohol, either, unless you fall into one of a few exceptions (such as an 18-year-old server at a bar, who is permitted to bring alcohol from the bar to customers).

What About Drinking With Your Parents?

In Wisconsin, minors are permitted to drink with their parents’ consent. (Legal guardians count, too.) However, some establishments won’t serve to people under the age of 21 – even if their parents are there and say that it’s okay.

Wisconsin Alcohol Laws on Drunk Driving

Drunk driving is a crime in Wisconsin. If you’re charged with operating while intoxicated, or OWI, the state can convict you if you:

  • Drove or operated a motor vehicle on a public highway
  • Were under the influence of an intoxicant (or a controlled substance) at the time that you drove or operated the motor vehicle
  • Had a prohibited alcohol concentration at the time you drove or operated the vehicle

In Wisconsin, you can’t have an alcohol concentration over 0.08 if you have two or fewer prior OWIs. If you have an ignition interlock device – a device that won’t allow your car to start without checking your alcohol concentration first – or if you’ve had three or more prior OWIs, your alcohol concentration must be lower than 0.02 to legally get behind the wheel.

Public Intoxication and Wisconsin Alcohol Laws

Public intoxication isn’t a crime in Wisconsin, but some municipalities have ordinances against it. Additionally, the things you do while you’re intoxicated in public can have legal consequences. For example, if you get into a fight or otherwise engage in disorderly conduct, the state can charge you with that crime. Disorderly conduct is a Class B misdemeanor, and if you’re convicted, the judge can send you to jail for up to 90 days and hit you with fines of up to $1,000.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney Because You Violated Wisconsin Alcohol Laws?

If you’ve found yourself in trouble because you’re accused of breaking Wisconsin alcohol laws, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 to schedule your free consultation with an attorney today.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T12:08:29-05:00April 27th, 2020|Criminal Law|Comments Off on Wisconsin Alcohol Laws

DUI Checkpoints in Wisconsin

DUI Checkpoints in Milwaukee - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

Some states allow DUI checkpoints – even neighboring Illinois has plenty of them set up in and around Chicago, where they catch drunk drivers and process them through the state’s criminal justice systems. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that sobriety checkpoints are constitutional, which means they’re perfectly legal for police to set up and use.

But in Wisconsin, police have to have probable cause to believe that you’re breaking a law to pull you over – and that means we don’t have DUI checkpoints. The police have to see you weaving between lines, failing to use a turn signal, or exhibiting other behaviors on the road that make them suspect you’ve been drinking and driving before they can pull you over and check to see if you’re sober.

Instead of DUI checkpoints, police create task forces staffed with police who actively look for drunk drivers. The task forces watch for people operating while intoxicated during times that people are more likely to drive drunk, such as late weekend nights, in areas where there are frequent OWI arrests (like in areas that have a lot of bars and restaurants).

Here’s what to do if you’re nabbed by a Milwaukee OWI task force:

  • Remain calm. Don’t give the police any reason to say you’re not being cooperative.
  • Be polite and respectful.
  • Be very careful about what you say, because the police can (and will) use anything you say against you in court.
  • Be prepared to be arrested if you refuse to take a field sobriety test. If you’re arrested, you will still be required to submit to chemical testing to see if you have alcohol in your system. Chemical testing can include a breath test, blood test, or in rarer cases, a urine test.

Were You Arrested for OWI by a Drunk Driving Task Force?

If police arrested you for drunk driving, regardless of what your blood alcohol content was at the time you were tested, we may be able to help you.

Call our experienced Milwaukee OWI attorneys right now at 414-383-6700 for a free consultation. We’ll ask you some questions and answer all your questions, and we can begin building a defense strategy that gets you the best possible outcome.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T13:24:59-05:00November 27th, 2019|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on DUI Checkpoints in Wisconsin

Drinking and Boating in Wisconsin: What You Need to Know

Is Drinking and Boating Illegal in Wisconsin - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

Is drinking and boating illegal in Wisconsin?

Absolutely – and the penalties if you’re caught and convicted can be extremely harsh. The state considers drinking and boating such a serious crime because of the potential for someone to get hurt. It’s not uncommon for inebriated boaters to crash into other boats, slam into swimmers or hurt themselves out on the water, so the state created a serious set of penalties.

Drinking and Boating in Wisconsin: What You Need to Know

Wisconsin law prohibits anyone from operating a motorboat or waterskiing (or using other, similar devices on the water) if they’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The bottom line is that if you’re caught – and many people are – you could end up spending time in prison.

Drinking and Boating: Implied Consent

Any time you operate, or even attempt to operate, a watercraft or other vessel on Wisconsin’s waterways, you’ve given your implied consent to an alcohol or drug test. What that means is that if you try to operate a watercraft, you’re telling the police that you’ll submit to testing if they think you’re under the influence.

If your blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 percent or greater, or if you’re under the influence of an intoxicant or controlled substance, it’s illegal for you to:

  • Operate a motorboat
  • Use waterskis
  • Use a surfboard
  • Use a tube
  • Use another type of device

If you’re caught drinking and boating, you can face the same penalties you would face if you were operating a motor vehicle in the same conditions. You could end up going to jail, paying fines, and having your boat impounded.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer in Milwaukee About Drinking and Boating Charges?

If you’ve been charged with BUI, which stands for boating under the influence, we may be able to help you. Call us right away at 414-383-6700 or get in touch with our BUI lawyers online. We’ll answer your questions and help you start moving forward.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T13:45:35-05:00November 27th, 2019|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on Drinking and Boating in Wisconsin: What You Need to Know

Is Wisconsin on the Way to Tougher Drunk Driving Laws?

Is Wisconsin on the Way to Tougher Drunk Driving Laws – Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

Wisconsin state legislators are trying to change a pair of laws that affect people who are pulled over for drunk driving across the state. Currently, a few bills are making their way through the legislature to toughen up the penalties for drinking and driving – including one that would criminalize a first OWI rather than treating it as a traffic violation.

What Are the Drunk Driving Laws Now?

Currently, if you’re pulled over for OWI and have no prior offenses, police can treat it as a traffic violation. After an arrest for OWI, the police can take you into custody for 12 hours or release you to a “responsible adult.”

What Legislators Want to See for Wisconsin Drunk Driving Laws in the Future

The bills working their way through legislative committees right now would turn a first OWI offense into a Class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by a $500 fine, 30 days in jail, or a combination of the two penalties. They also call for people to be held in jail until their BAC is 0.04 – half the legal limit of 0.08 – and requiring offenders to appear in court if they’re accused of first-time OWI.

These types of laws have been proposed before, but now several lawmakers are supporting the change – including Rep. Jim Ott (R-Mequon), Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), and democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

“I think we have to do something different and I’m looking forward to (Ott’s) bill,” Evers said at a Milwaukee Press Club event last month. “We can’t afford to lose lives because of drunk driving in Wisconsin. I’m committed to doing something. Rep. Ott seems to be moving in the right direction to get the support he needs. I support his honest work on this issue and I hope to be able to help him out.”

Wisconsin is alone in the fact that it doesn’t criminalize a first-offense OWI.

What if You’re Accused of OWI?

If you’re accused of drinking and driving, call us at 414-383-6700. Our experienced Milwaukee OWI lawyers may be able to help you, and we’ll answer all your questions during your free OWI case review.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T14:21:06-05:00November 27th, 2019|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on Is Wisconsin on the Way to Tougher Drunk Driving Laws?

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