From concerns about keeping your job to keeping your passport, the ramifications of an OWI mark on your record are far-reaching.
The state of Wisconsin focuses on keeping intoxicated drivers off the road. However, depending on the level of offense, the issues you face could include both state and federal penalties.
Starting with a misdemeanor
If law enforcement pulls you over on suspicion of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, you face a fine of $1,000 or more just for your first offense. You also face suspension of your driving privileges and will have to attend an administrative hearing in order to have your license reinstated.
Facing a felony conviction
If you have four convictions for OWI, what used to be a misdemeanor escalates to a Class H felony. Penalties escalate as well. You may have to pay a fine of up to $10,000, you face up to six years in prison and you must participate in a sobriety program for one to three years.
Understanding the impact
Even as a misdemeanor, you may find that getting a job is difficult with an OWI conviction on your record. In fact, the OWI may disqualify you for the certification or state licensing you need for certain careers, for instance in law, education or medicine. Keep in mind that with a felony conviction, you will lose certain liberties you now take for granted. For example, you will not be able to vote nor own firearms and you will likely lose your passport. This is why building a successful defense is so important. Your future is at stake and you have the right to expect the best outcome possible for your OWI case.