In Wisconsin, drunk driving injures 3,000 people and claims the lives of 150 people every year. It is no surprise that Wisconsin law treats operating while intoxicated (OWI) as a serious criminal offense, regardless of whether it results in any injuries. However, if you are arrested on charges of injury by intoxicated use of a vehicle, the penalties can be especially severe, and it is important that you have an attorney who can help you protect your rights.
Possible Charges for Causing Injury While OWI in Wisconsin
Wisconsin courts typically show leniency to those who are convicted of OWI for the first time, with offenders often facing a relatively small fine and a shorter driver’s license revocation period, and avoiding jail time entirely. However, a first offender who causes even a minor injury to another person is much less likely to be granted this leniency. In these cases, possible penalties include fines between $300 and $2,000, jail time of 30 days to one year, and a revoked license for at least a year beyond the end of the imprisonment sentence. There is a steep increase in penalties for someone who causes injury while OWI with any previous OWI conviction on their record. This is considered a Class H felony, with fines up to $10,000 and imprisonment of up to six years.
Possible penalties are also much more severe if you are charged with causing great bodily harm, meaning an injury that is life-threatening or that causes permanent disfigurement or impairment. This offense is considered a Class F felony, and it can result in fines up to $25,000 and imprisonment for up to 12.5 years.
Defending Against Your OWI Charges
The serious nature of these charges makes a strong defense all the more important. At the time of your arrest, you have the right to remain silent and request the presence of your attorney before responding to any questions in a way that could be used against you in court. Your attorney may be able to help you avoid a conviction or reduce your sentence by contesting the results of an unreliable blood alcohol test or presenting evidence of other causes for the victim’s injuries. You may also be able to avoid the full extent of the possible penalties by agreeing to participate in alcohol education and treatment programs.
Contact a Milwaukee OWI Defense Attorney
At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, we will work to present a strong defense in your OWI case, no matter how serious the charges you are facing, ensuring that your rights are protected and that you receive a fair trial. Contact a Milwaukee, WI criminal defense lawyer today at 414-271-1440.