Day: November 22, 2017

Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence is a dangerous criminal offense, and therefore comes with strict penalties. New Wisconsin laws increase those penalties.

If someone faces an OWI charge, it is important to understand all that this entails, including the potentially harsher outcomes that the new legislation has put into place.

Different from DUI

Some individuals may be under the false impression that a DUI and an OWI charge are the same. Though both charges involving motor vehicles and intoxication, the scope of the charges is different. In the case of a DUI, an individual must be actually operating a motor vehicle to be guilty. In the case of an OWI, an individual must only be in charge of a part of the vehicle that is needed for its operation. For instance, if law enforcement finds an individual who is in the driver’s seat of a parked vehicle to be under the influence, the individual may face an OWI but not a DUI.

Penalty range

The new OWI laws increase the penalty for an OWI conviction. When individuals receive their first OWI, they face minimal penalties, including fines of up to $300 and a license revocation up to nine months. However, the fines and revocation increase with the second and third conviction, and include jail time. With the new law, the fourth charge results in a felony conviction, which can lead to a fine of up to $10,000, six years in prison, and a three-year license revocation. The penalties increase with any additional charges after the fourth, up to the tenth conviction, which holds a 15-year conviction, with a minimum of four years.

By taking some time to understand the aspects of an OWI, individuals may decide the best options for their case moving forward. It may also be beneficial to consult with a knowledgeable attorney.


Wisconsin residents may be surprised to learn that according to a study by the U.S. Sentencing Commission, black men on average spend more time in prison than white men who commit the same crimes. The study looked at data from 2012 to 2016 and showed that black men served sentences that were 19.1 percent longer than white men who committed the same crimes.

Some may argue that the black men who got longer sentences may have had a history of violence or a history of crime. However, this pattern of thought does not hold water according to the study produced by the US federal judiciary branch. When an offender’s history of violence was factored in, black offenders had sentences 20.4 times longer than white men.

In 2005, the Supreme Court heard the case United States vs. Booker. This case allowed judges to alter the sentences they handed out based on the “facts” they heard coupled with their good judgment. Before that, judges were limited in how they sentenced an offender by the guidelines from the sentencing commission.

The United States leads the world with more than 2.2 million people incarcerated. This represents a staggering 500 percent increase in incarceration over the last four decades. This incarceration has disproportionately affected black men, who are six times as likely to be incarcerated as white men. One in 10 black men over age 30 is in prison or jail.

Not everyone incarcerated for a crime is guilty. This underscores the importance of consulting a criminal defense attorney whether a person is guilty of the crime or not. A criminal defense attorney can help the accused at various stages of their interaction with the criminal justice system. They may be able to assist with the investigation, help an individual who has been released from prison regain their rights, and help wrongfully arrested or incarcerated individuals clear their name.

Your attorney's experience can make all the difference when your future is on the line. Learn how attorney Jeffrey Kippa can help you move forward.

Call 920-733-1100