OWI and Car Accidents in Wisconsin
OWI and Car Accidents in Wisconsin
Offering sound legal guidance for unfortunate circumstances
The fact that your vehicle was involved in an accident does not necessarily increase the penalty upon conviction for operating under the influence. Striking a vehicle, whether occupied or unoccupied, may be considered as an aggravating factor determining placement within the range of penalties upon conviction but an accident will not result in an enhanced charge — unless the intoxicated operation of your vehicle results in injury or death.
What are the penalties for causing injury by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle?
If there are no offenses included as prior convictions under Sec. 343.307(1), a conviction for causing injury while under the influence of an intoxicant under Sec. 346.63(2)a does not automatically result in a jail sentence. If the court does impose a jail sentence, it must impose a minimum of 30 days up to a maximum of one year. The court must also order a fine of $300-$2,000 plus costs, a one- to two-year revocation of operating privileges, and the ignition interlock device for one to two years. Eligibility for an occupational license is 60 days after conviction or one year if there are two or more OWI offenses within a five-year period. There is no credit for the administrative suspension.
If the injury constitutes great bodily harm, there will be a conviction for a Class F felony under Sec. 940.09(1) with a sentence up to 12.5 years in the Wisconsin state prison system, including up to seven and a half years initial confinement; two-year revocation of operating privileges, a fine up to $25,000 plus costs, and a one- to two-year ignition interlock device period. Eligibility for an occupational license is 120 days after conviction or one year if there are two or more OWI offenses with a five-year period. There is no credit for the administrative suspension.
Sec. 939.22(14) sets forth the definition of great bodily harm as “bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes serious permanent disfigurement, or which causes a permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ or other serious bodily injury.”
Injury by intoxicated use with prior conviction
If there is a prior OWI conviction under Sec. 343.307(1), the OWI injury charge is a Class H felony (Sec. 346.65(3p).
What if the person I hit dies after the accident?
When an auto accident results in the death of another person, this is a profound tragedy requiring representation by knowledgeable and experienced counsel.
There is also the possibility that the defense may be able to prove by evidence that satisfies a jury to a reasonable degree of certainty by the greater weight of credible evidence that the accident and death would have occurred even if you had been exercising due care and had not been under the influence of an intoxicant.
If convicted the penalty range afforded the sentencing judge ranges from no incarceration up to 25 years in prison.
Call an OWI and car accident attorney in Milwaukee today for a free consultation
There are many equities than can affect the final sentence. If you are involved in this unfortunate situation it is important to immediately contact Mike to review all aspects of your case. Call The Law Office of Michael Hayes, LLC, at 414-405-5678 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation.