As of January 1, 2017 an Operating While Intoxicated – 4th Offense in Wisconsin is now a felony. Prior to this change in the OWI laws, an OWI – 4th was only a felony if your previous OWI occurred fewer than 5 years prior. Otherwise it was still a misdemeanor. However, the state legislature decided to make this drastic change in response to public outcry over repeat OWI offenders.
Another caveat that individuals with OWI convictions should be aware of is that after a person is convicted of three OWI offenses, their prohibited alcohol concentration decreases. For most drivers, the prohibited alcohol concentration is 0.08. In other words, you may not drive if your blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 or higher. However, if you have three or more convictions for OWI on your driving record, your prohibited alcohol concentration is 0.02. Therefore, if your blood alcohol concentration is 0.02 or higher you can be charged with an OWI. And at that point, since you will likely already have three prior OWI conviction, you will be facing a felony charge. A prohibited alcohol concentration of 0.02 is so low that, depending on the type of beer you’re drinking, you could be at or above a 0.02 after just one beer.
If you find yourself charged with an OWI, contact Attorney Todd Simon. I am an experienced OWI lawyer and I would be happy to talk to you.