Wisconsin was known for lax laws regarding drinking and driving, but the state continues to tighten them. The possible fines continue to go up, the penalties grow more demanding, including possible time in jail, and other oversight such as an ignition interlock device with its installation fees. Those with an occupational license will be hit with additional fines that can add up to more than $1,000. Outside the legalities of an OWI, students can lose federal grants or loans, potential employers will see the charges on your record, and loss of license may mean there is no way to get to work.

New more severe penalty

The state has now drawn a very clear line. As of 2016, the 4th OWI within 15 years of the previous one comes with severe penalties that are consistent with a Class H Felony.

The maximum penalties include:

  • A maximum fine of $10,000
  • A maximum penalty of up to six years in jail
  • These could happen regardless of whether there are other charges as well

The penalties automatically start with:

  • At least a $600 fine
  • At least 60 days in jail
  • Permanent loss of driver’s license

Each case is different

Since the circumstances surround each set of charges are different, it always is recommended to work with an attorney with experience handling clients with multiple OWI’s. There are big differences between maximum and minimum penalties of the 4th OWI, so it makes the most sense to work with a lawyer who handles these types of cases regularly to reduce the sentence or have the case dismissed.