Wisconsin has notoriously tough penalties for DUI, and many people who are charged with driving under the influence don’t know how serious it is. While the obvious answer is to avoid drinking and driving, that’s not very useful to people who have already been arrested. If you have been arrested and accused of drinking and driving, it’s important that you call a Milwaukee DUI lawyer right away. Whether this is your first offense or a subsequent offense, you could be in serious trouble – and your attorney can help protect your rights.
First-Time DUI Charges in Wisconsin
If you have never been charged with DUI before, you need to understand the process before we delve into Wisconsin’s penalties. Generally, once you’re arrested, you’re taken to jail. There, you’re fingerprinted and must stay until one of two things happens: you pay to get out or you go before a judge.
When you are given the chance to make a telephone call, it should be to a Milwaukee drunk driving lawyer. Your attorney will evaluate your case and give you guidance on what to do next. (Remember, you do not have to talk to police or investigators if they question you. You can refuse—politely—and tell them that you’re waiting for your DUI attorney to arrive.)
Wisconsin Penalties for DUI
The penalties for DUI vary based on how many times you have received a similar charge, whether you had a young passenger, and whether anyone was hurt.
If this is your first offense, you can face fines and may be ordered to pay court costs. You could spend time in jail, and your driver’s license will be revoked. Depending on your blood alcohol content level, you may have to pay to have an ignition interlock installed on your vehicle; that’s a device that prevents your car from starting until you provide a “clean” breath sample – one that has no alcohol in it.
Second and subsequent charges have more serious penalties. You may still have to install an ignition interlock device, face revocation of your license and be forced to pay court costs… but the fines get larger and you will face jail time.
Jail Time for DUI Convictions in Wisconsin
If you are convicted of drunk driving, the amount of time you are sentenced to spend in jail will vary:
- Second offense: between 5 days and 6 months in jail.
- Third offense: between 45 days and 1 year
- Fourth offense: up to 1 year if you have no convictions within the last 5 years; up to 6 years with three in prison
There are further penalties for more offenses, as well. If anyone is injured, or if you had a child in the car, your attorney will be able to tell you how severe the penalties can be.
The bottom line is to avoid drinking and driving; it’s safer for you and it’s safer for Milwaukee. If you’ve already been arrested, though, the best thing you can do is call a Milwaukee DUI attorney who can evaluate your case and begin protecting your rights.