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Do I Need an Attorney for an OWI 1st?

OWI Information

Do I Need an Attorney for an OWI 1st?

by Morgan Sauder, Senior Attorney

Wisconsin is unique in that an OWI 1st (Operating While Intoxicated) is classified not as a crime, but as a traffic offense. People frequently handle traffic offenses on their own, most often by just paying the fine.

Paying the fine is the same as entering a guilty plea. Once the fine is paid, a guilty plea is entered on behalf of the driver and a SR-22 form needs to be provided to your insurance company. That’s it, you can just pay the fine and be done. Could it really be that simple? Sure, but…

With years of experience, we have learned things are not as simple as they appear for OWI 1st clients.

If you have a CDL, entering a guilty plea on any new drunk driving charge means you can say goodbye to your CDL. A lot of people earn their living on their CDL and don’t realize the life changing impact of an OWI after getting a CDL license.

Even for those without a CDL, getting an OWI 1st will absolutely raise your insurance rates. You will also lose your driving privileges for a minimum of 6 months, likely longer. You will have to attend an Alcohol Assessment and be given a Driver Safety Plan to reinstate your driving privileges after your revocation.

Depending on your level of intoxication and whether or not you caused an accident or have an aggravated driving record, you may also be faced with a PAC (Prohibited Alcohol Content) charge, increased driver license revocation and be forced to put in a costly IID (Ignition Interlock Device) on any vehicle you own or operate and pay the monthly fees for the IID.

As with any offense, whether or not you use an attorney your decision, but it is always recommended to work with a legal professional who can help guide and defend you.

Russell Law Offices, S.C. has attorneys on staff with significant experience handling OWI cases in Southern Wisconsin and would be happy to come on board and help you with your defense. Call today for a free consultation.




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