The holidays are here, and for many, that means celebrating with family, friends, and copious amounts of alcohol.

Alcohol inhibits a driver’s ability to perceive his or her environment and stay within his or her lane, making the driver a danger not only to others on the road, but to him- or herself. Because of the celebrations that occur from November through early January, law enforcement in Wisconsin heightens their presence on state and local roads to catch drunk drivers and prevent tragedies. Wisconsin has the highest rate of drunk driving in the United States, with more than a quarter of adults admitting to driving despite knowing they were legally intoxicated.

If you have been charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI), contact an experienced Neenah OWI lawyer to discuss your legal options.

Penalties for OWI in Wisconsin

Any individual who is found to be driving while his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08% or higher may be charged with OWI. In Wisconsin, the penalties for this charge are as follows:

1st Offense

    • $150 to $300 in fines; and
  • Six to nine months driver’s license suspension.

2nd Offense

    • Five days to six months in jail;
    • $300 to $1,100 in fines;
    • 12 to 18 month driver’s license suspension; and
  • Ignition interlock device.

3rd Offense

    • 30 days to one year in jail;
    • Ignition interlock device;
    • $600 to $2,000 in fines; and
  • Two to three years in jail.

Avoid an OWI or a Tragedy

The best way to prevent an OWI charge and protect yourself and others is to choose not to drink and drive. Instead, drive to and from parties with a designated sober driver or volunteer to be the sober driver yourself. If you are hosting a holiday party, offer your guests the option to stay overnight if they become too intoxicated to drive home. Do not allow a drunk guest to drive away from your party.

Other options for safe travel during the holiday season include public transportation and rideshare services like Uber or Lyft.

Wisconsin DUI Attorney

If you have been charged with OWI in Wisconsin, work with an experienced Appleton DWI attorney. It might be possible for you to have your penalties reduced or your charge dismissed entirely. Contact our team at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC today to schedule your free legal consultation with us.