DUI/OWI Charges Carry Serious Penalties

Drunk driving arrests can lead to serious consequences for drivers in Wisconsin. First-time offenses can still result in criminal charges in some cases. Even if the OWI offense is not considered criminal, offenders can face harsh penalties, including license revocation and hefty fines.

Attorney Jeffrey Kippa and team of J. Kippa Law, LLC, understands how seriously the law takes OWI charges. An OWI offense would show up on a person’s record even if it is a first-time offense. Having a drunk driving citation or charge on your record can significantly impact your future. Employers and other organizations have access to these files, and a charge may harm a person’s future employment opportunities.

Drunk Driving Charges Need A Qualified OWI Attorney

Even first-offense OWI charges can carry harsh penalties. If the OWI charge is a criminal offense, it may require a mandatory jail sentence. Every case is unique, and many factors can play a role in the consequences individuals face.

Attorney Jeffrey Kippa and his criminal defense team have years of experience representing people charged with OWI. Our OWI attorneys know what options are available to get the charges reduced or how to minimize the penalties. In some cases, defendants may be able to serve their sentences at home with a monitor or work out a different arrangement that still allows them to go to work and even continue driving.


DUI/OWI in Wisconsin comes with severe penalties. Even first time offenses can result in criminal charges that can haunt you for the rest of your life in addition to the loss of your driver’s license and hefty fines.

At J. Kippa Law, LLC, we understand how distressing it is to face these harsh consequences and know that you have many questions about protecting your rights and your future. Read on for answers to some of the most commonly asked DUI/OWI questions we receive at our Appleton firm or contact us now to speak to an attorney about your situation.


If you refused a field sobriety test when you were stopped on suspicion of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, you need to act quickly to protect your license. You have 10 days to request a court hearing after refusing a breath or blood test. If you fail to request a hearing you will lose your driver’s license for a year (longer if you have prior refusals). Having the assistance of an experienced attorney at your hearing gives you a fighting chance to save your license and limit the damage.


While it is true that in Wisconsin an OWI is typically a civil offense, you would be wise to seek the assistance of an OWI attorney. Under certain circumstances, even a first-offense OWI can be charged criminally. It is of critical importance that you understand the difference. Civil forfeiture is punishable by fines and license suspensions, but not jail or probation. A criminal OWI can carry mandatory minimum jail or prison time and the potential for probation.

Penalties for a civil first offense include fines, license suspension, mandatory alcohol assessment and installation of an ignition interlock device. The assistance that attorney skilled in defending against OWI and DUI charges can provide is essential. At a minimum, you ought to contact a qualified OWI lawyer to discuss the specifics of your case.


DO I NEED An attorney FOR MY 2nd or 3rd OWI offense?

A lawyer is not required but it’s definitely a good idea if your goal is to reduce your exposure to harsh civil and/or criminal penalties.

An OWI (1st) is typically a civil offense – all subsequent offenses, and firsts under limited circumstances, are criminal.   If it is charged criminally it can expose you to penalties such as jail time and probation.  The civil penalties are no picnic either. They include:

Driver’s license suspension
Mandatory alcohol assessment
Ignition interlock device

Having an experienced defense lawyer on your side ensures you will be aware of your rights and defense options and have every chance at lessening your exposure to civil and criminal penalties.


Can you afford not to have a lawyer for your OWI case?

Nothing about OWI is cheap – lawyer fees included. However, money spent on a proven OWI defense lawyer can result in money not spent on things like fines, increased insurance premiums, and ignition interlock devices.

The long-term costs of an OWI conviction can be staggering, both legally and financially.  If possible, a settlement short of trial might limit some of the damages but if that is not possible, sometimes one must fight the allegations and be willing to take it to trial.  Whatever is the right route for you, J. Kippa Law is there to assist.  Perhaps what is most important is that a client makes an educated decision to take the case to trial and that is something that the lawyers at J.Kippa Law are equipped to do.

An experienced attorney who can guide you to the best possible outcome in your case is money well spent.

The OWI Attorneys at J. Kippa Law, LLC, Can Help

Jeffrey Kippa’s OWI defense team have extensive knowledge working with judges, prosecutors and the Department of Transportation (DOT) on OWI cases. They always focus on finding the best possible outcome for their clients and know that each case is unique and require an OWI lawyer who understands what’s at stake.

Read our frequently asked questions about DUIs to learn more. Attorney Jeffrey Kippa and team represent clients in Appleton and throughout Wisconsin. To learn about the criminal defense law firm, contact them online or call them at 920-733-1100 for a free initial consultation.

At J. Kippa Law, LLC, you want representation as early as possible. You will work directly with criminal defense attorney Jeffrey Kippa and his team throughout your case. Call 920-733-1100 or contact the law firm online to discuss your situation.