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Wisconsin OWIs And Enhanced Charges | WI OWI Defense

5 Situations That Can Lead to Additional Wisconsin OWI Charges

The laws surrounding Wisconsin OWIs do not treat all drunk driving offenses the same. The repercussions of an OWI depend on many other factors, which is why punishments vary.  Sometimes an OWI charge leads to unexpected additional charges. These enhanced OWI charges can be attributed to the adoption of stricter penalties by the legislature in 2016 as well as increased enforcement.

Following is a list of 5 of the most common situations where a driver could face additional charges during an OWI arrest.

5 OWI Situations That Often Result in Additional Charges

  1. OWI with a Passenger Under 16. Anyone who is charged with an OWI while transporting a passenger under 16 years of age can also be charged with a felony.
  2. Exceedingly High Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Readings. Drivers with exceedingly high BAC levels can expect fines and penalties to be doubled, tripled, or quadrupled depending on their BAC reading.
    • Double penalties are assessed for BACs of .17 to .199.
    • Tripled penalties are assessed for BACs of .20 to .249.
    • Quadrupled penalties are assessed for BACs of .25 or higher.
  3. Circumventing Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs). If a driver has multiple OWI convictions he or she will be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on any car they operate. IIDs prevent the vehicle’s ignition by requiring the driver to blow into the device so a BAC reading can be recorded. Circumventing or disconnecting an IID can lead to additional charges and fines ranging from $150 to $600 and up to six months in
  1. OWI While Driving a Commercial Vehicle. Commercial drivers face especially harsh penalties for OWIs. Even first time offenders may be disqualified from commercial driving for 12 months in addition to the typical first-time offender fines and penalties. If they happen to be transporting hazardous materials at the time of the OWI, they can be disqualified for 3 years. Second-time offenders will generally receive a lifetime revocation of their CDL, although in some cases the revocation may be limited to 10 years.
  1. Drunk Driving Under 21. The legal age for alcohol consumption in Wisconsin is 21. Underage drivers who are found to have any concentration of alcohol in their blood up to .08 will lose their driving privileges. How long they lose their privileges depends on whether it is a first or subsequent OWI. At a minimum, drivers should expect a 90-day suspension and an IID requirement.

Arrange a Free Wisconsin OWI Defense Consultation at Eisenberg Law Offices

Eisenberg Law Offices has been defending drivers facing Wisconsin OWI charges for over 35 years. Our experienced team of OWI defense attorneys represent drivers throughout Wisconsin. 

If you are facing OWI charges in Wisconsin and need experienced legal representation, contact Eisenberg Law Offices at 608-256-8356 or We offer free and confidential consultations.



Eisenberg Law has successfully represented our clients in thousands of Personal Injury, Criminal Defense and Family Law Cases during our 30-plus years in business.