Wisconsin residents may not always understand the state’s driving laws. The fact that two classifications of driving while impaired exist may make getting charged with one or the other that much more confusing.

An OWI may indicate that a person was operating a vehicle while intoxicated. However, you may not know how this differs from a DUI or driving under the influence charge. The staff here at Christopher T. Van Wagner S.C. want to ensure that you have the proper information before getting pulled over, so you know how to handle yourself from the getgo. Become familiar with what an OWI is and how it may impact you.

Operating versus driving 

When slapped with an OWI charge versus a DUI charge, there are some nuanced differences. First, operating a vehicle does not mean it was in motion, but that there was the possibility of movement. If you are sitting behind the wheel of a parked car and an officer determines some level of impairment, you may receive an OWI charge. This charge also applies to other vehicles, such as a snowmobile, all-terrain vehicle or boat. The offense for operating any of these under the influence is just as harsh.

Impacts of an OWI 

A DUI may carry stiffer penalties because, in those instances, the car was actively moving. However, this does not mean your record will not carry the remnants of an OWI charge and conviction. Some employers may choose to take a pass at your stellar application because of an OWI. Too many of these charges and subsequent convictions may result in a suspension or loss of your driving privileges for varying amounts of time.

To understand the issue more fully, visit our website for more information.