Wisconsin Law: OWI – DUI – DWI

A drunk driving charge in Wisconsin is called an OWI, which stands for Operating While under the Influence. In other states, this is a DUI or DWI charge, but the laws is basically the same- it alleges that the driver of a motorized vehicle was under the influence while driving. The influencing agent can be any intoxicant such as alcohol, illegal drugs such as cocaine or marijuana, or legal drugs that have the propensity to impair driving.

Events surrounding a drunk driving charge can be overwhelming, but it is important to hire an experienced qualified attorney right away.

The two-part system: why you need to act fast

Once you receive an OWI citation, the state initiates two legal actions. The Criminal Action is in response to the ticket that was issued to you, while the Administrative Action is brought against your driver’s license by the Wisconsin Motor Vehicle Department. While both actions can result in the suspension of your driving privileges, it is important to remember that there may be additional penalties to consider and each action must be handled separately.

Pursuant to Wisconsin law, an individual has 10 days to request an Administrative Hearing from the Motor Vehicle Department. If you fail to request a hearing within 10 days, your right to the hearing is lost, and your license is automatically suspended for the applicable statutory time frame. In order to preserve your right to an Administrative Hearing, it is crucial that you submit your request to the Motor Vehicle Department within 10 days.

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Penalties and Outcomes

Offenses and penalties for OWI

People accused of drunk driving can receive two tickets for the drunk driving offense. One of the tickets is for driving under the influence (the OWI ticket), and the other is for violating Wisconsin’s prohibited alcohol content level laws (the PAC ticket). Actual drunk driving charges depend on several factors, such as if the person had been convicted of a drunk driving offense previously in this or any other state, if the person had refused to submit to a sobriety test (convictions for refusing a test count as a prior OWI conviction), and whether or not a child was in the vehicle at the time that the alleged offense was committed.Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) penalties range in severity depending on the type of offense and number of repeat offenses.

We Can Help

We understand how devastating an arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol and / or drugs can be. An OWI conviction can result in costly fines, required attendance at alcohol-education classes, suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, increase in or cancellation of your auto insurance, placing an ignition interlock device in your car, and, in some cases, jail or prison.

The Zaleski Law Firm approaches each and every case with the care and attention you expect and deserve. Initially, we can usually help get your driver’s license suspension put on hold pending resolution of the DMV aspect of your case. That way, you are free to drive to work, school, and other personal commitments you may have.

For a review of your situation, and for some help navigating the system, contact the Zaleski Law Firm for a free consultation

Tell us about your Case

Criminal Defense Lawyer and Drunk Driving Attorney Steven Zaleski

Criminal Defense Attorney Steven Zaleski has over a dozen years of experience in representing criminal defendants in Wisconsin. He helps criminal defendants and family members deal with the stress of a pending criminal case or an appeal following a criminal conviction.

Attorney Steven Zaleski will personally handle your case from start to finish.  Steven approaches each and every case and appeal with the care and attention you expect and deserve. After our investigation – including a thorough review of court records, police reports, witness statements, and your version of events we will work to achieve the best possible results on your behalf.

With a sterling reputation, the best reviews on the web, two convenient locations, and flexible meeting and payment options, the Zaleski Law Firm is the best in the business, and your best bet for a fresh start.

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An experienced counselor and litigator, Steven Zaleski is ready to negotiate and litigate for the best possible outcome in your case.  He has tried lawsuits in state and federal courts, including successful litigation in front of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.


We’re here to help answer your questions. Legal matters are complicated. The firm is on hand to help inform you of every aspect of your case. Contact an Attorney today.

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