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4th Offense OWI – Now a Felony in Wisconsin

A 4th offense OWI is now a felony in Wisconsin

Any OWI offense in Wisconsin carries significant penalties. As of April 25, 2016, though, a 4th offense OWI became even more critical: it now creates an automatic felony if you are convicted. Rather than an extra misdemeanor, the felony can be a burden when you are applying for a job or a loan. Thus, it is more important than ever to avoid multiple OWI convictions, and to get strong legal representation from a Madison criminal lawyer if you are arrested.

Costs to the Driver

A felony conviction carries big consequences for a driver. You can be fined up to $10,000 for the fourth offense. Further, your jail sentence can be up to five years, with a mandatory minimum of six months in jail, and you will have your license suspended for up to three years.

Of course, this creates significant strains on your ability to maintain your employment, take care of your family, and enjoy many other aspects of your life that you likely take for granted. A conviction will disrupt your life in ways that are difficult to overcome.

Defending Your Rights

Defending your OWI case begins with a thorough investigation. Your attorney will need to understand the timeline of events and what happened, including your consumption of alcohol, the alcohol testing procedure, and arrest. Mistakes by police can help you avoid conviction.

Beyond this, your attorney can recommend treatment and counseling for you. By the time you have reached a fourth offense, there is a strong likelihood that you need to get professional help. Besides helping you avoid convictions, your attorney should be helping to represent your best interests. Rather than continuing to fight over and over, getting help can move you toward a better life.

Further, affirmatively seeking treatment can help you gain some lenience with the court. Conviction on a felony 4th offense OWI seriously complicates your life. A good criminal defense attorney looks for avenues to not only help you in the moment, but to work within the justice system for solutions that benefit both you and the city in which you live.