In general, when a person is facing a second Wisconsin OWI, the penalties should reflect the serious nature of the crime committed… again. Since the state has such lenient laws for most first-time OWI offenses, we hope that Wisconsin would take any second offense much more seriously. In some ways a second Wisconsin OWI does get pretty restrictive penalties. In other ways there could be some improvement.
The difference in restrictions for a second Wisconsin OWI is the 10-year look-back period used to count offenses.
If a second OWI occurs outside of the 10 years, then an offender can expect:
- $150-$300 in fines, plus $435 OWI surcharge.
- No jail time.
- Driver’s license revocation for six to nine months.
- One-year ignition interlock requirement with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 percent or higher.
If that second Wisconsin OWI happens within 10 years of a first-time offense, then:
- $350- $1,100 in fines, plus $435 OWI surcharge.
- Five days to six months in jail, or option to enter into Safe Streets program.
- Driver’s license revocation for twelve to eighteen months.
- Ignition interlock requirement regardless of BAC for one year to 18 months, plus confinement length.
Additionally, in both cases, an OWI offender can apply for an occupational license as long as they participate in the state’s Absolute Sobriety Program.
The consequences for a second Wisconsin OWI increase when the offense has occurred during the 10-year look-back period, as multiple offenses can indicate a potential problem with alcohol abuse or dependency. Even if your second OWI happened outside of the look-back period, that incident could be a good time to really reflect upon your commitment to sober driving. You can always make better decisions about how to get home, rather than trying to figure out the best choices to make once you are already facing those OWI consequences.