Operating a vehicle while under the influence is a serious offense. It is for this reason legislators have recently considered new laws that would toughen Wisconsin’s already strict OWI laws. For example, the bills would ensure a first OWI offense that led to the death of another person would mean the offender goes to jail for a long time. As of right now, there are still serious offenses on the table, and it would be best to never get behind the wheel after consuming any amount of alcohol.

Basic penalties for first offenses

Even a first offense that does not result in death or serious injury still brings severe penalties. For starters, a conviction will result in a fine somewhere between $150 and $300. There may also be jail time. The state will suspend your driver’s license for between six and nine months, and there will be an additional $365 surcharge for the offense.

Additional penalties for high BAC

If your BAC level was above a specific limit, then you may need to install an ignition interlock device inside your car. You will need to attend mandatory drug and alcohol assessment classes. Your insurance rates will also take a hit. You will need to pay more for insurance each month for at least three years, so the financial toll of OWI is more severe than most people realize.

In Wisconsin, a single OWI offense can stay on your criminal record for the rest of your life. This can affect future job hunts and your ability to rent. You need to mount a solid legal defense to keep the charges off your record if possible.