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OWI attorney Madison WI

4th OWI in Wisconsin | 4th OWI Felony Charges

Changes to Wisconsin OWI Laws Make 4th OWI a Felony

Driving under the influence is illegal in Wisconsin and the state has made penalties for repeat OWI offenses even more severe in recent years. Laws passed in 2016 and 2018 significantly increased the penalties for the 4th OWI. A 4th OWI is now classified as a felony and a conviction carries with it a lifetime revocation of your driver’s license.

2016 OWI Law Changes

In 2016, the Wisconsin State Legislature passed Senate Bill 455 and it was signed into law. SB 455 made 4th OWI or beyond an automatic Class H felony regardless of the time period between the charges. Prior to the law being passed, it was classified as a misdemeanor unless it occurred within 5 years of a 3rd OWI.

Along with the felony classification, the penalties for OWI convictions increased accordingly. Penalties now include:

  • loss of driver’s license
  • requiring an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle
  • fines and penalties ranging from:
    • $600 to $10,000 in fines and/or
    • 6 months to 6 years of imprisonment

2018 Law Resulted in Lifetime Revocation of License

In 2018, the state passed a new law targeting drivers who are convicted of a 4th OWI or higher under 2017 Wisconsin Act 172. The law created very serious repercussions for convictions. Anyone convicted of an OWI for the 4th time or higher within 15 years of the prior offense will face a lifetime revocation of their driver’s license. Lifetime revocation can also be applied if the driver has two convictions of vehicle-related felonies (such as an OWI with injuries). Convicted drivers are also prohibited from obtaining an occupational license  for 10 years.

Penalties for anyone operating a vehicle after their license has been revoked have increased as well. First-time offenders will receive a $2,500 fine and/or one year in jail. Subsequent offenders can be charged $10,000 in fines and/or one year in jail.

Eisenberg Law Can Help Protect Your Driving Privileges

Revocation of your driving license and/or a felony charge on your record will both have a dramatic impact on your life. Don’t risk it. Contact the OWI defense team at Eisenberg Law Offices if you are facing any type of OWI charge in Wisconsin. 

Call Eisenberg Law Offices at 608-256-8356 or to arrange a free consultation.