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What Are The Possible DUI Penalties In Wisconsin And Illinois?


It is different in Wisconsin, because a first offense is not a criminal charge. It would only be a fine which is usually less in Wisconsin, because the court costs are less. In Wisconsin, the person would be revoked right out of the box but they would give the person an Occupational Permit, so they could get to and from work. If an Illinois driver went to Wisconsin and got a DUI, then they would revoke the person on the first offense and they would send it to the Illinois Secretary of State who would look at it and revoke the person for a year, without court supervision. In Wisconsin, it just ends when the person pays the fine and their privileges are reinstated so they can drive the whole time with a permit and the breath machine in their car. Someone who got their license revoked in Illinois would not even be eligible for a hearing for a year, and they would need good luck to be able to get one in that timeframe.

Is It Called DUI, OWI Or OUI In Wisconsin?

It is called OWI in Wisconsin, meaning, “Operating While Intoxicated”.

Is The Offense Any Different From A DUI Or Is It Just The Name?

No, it is the same thing, and it means that the person was driving while they were impaired from either an alcoholic beverage, a drug or a combination of both.

What Are The Penalties For Conviction In Illinois And Wisconsin For A First Time OWI Or DUI?

In Illinois, a first time DUI would carry a possible penalty of one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Every case would be different depending on whether or not the person blew, how much they blew and whether or not there was an accident or any other aggravating factors. For the normal, run-of-the-mill DUI, the person would wind up getting “Court Supervision”, in most of the counties where I have practiced in Illinois. This means that the person would have to stay out of trouble for a year. They would assess the fine and the court costs and it could be up to $2,500, although it is usually right around $1,000. The state passed a law where if the BAC was 1.6 or over, there would be a minimum fine of $1,250. The non-negotiable court costs would be added to that, and in my county, it would come up close to $1,700 for just the court costs. The person would be expected to pay those costs, and they would have to do an alcohol assessment or a DUI counseling type of session where they would evaluate the person and put them into one of three different levels, which would determine the number of hours the person would have to complete.

As part of this court supervision, the person would have to complete the school, pay their fines and remain arrest-free for a year. If they managed to do all that, then at the end of the year there would be no conviction on their license with the secretary of state. This would be very important because if someone got convicted in Illinois, then they would not just get suspended; they would be revoked for a year and even after the year the person would not get their license back automatically. They would have to have a full formal administrative hearing with the secretary of state and those people are just very unsympathetic.

Do A Lot Of Clients Cross Back And Forth Between The Two States?

This happens quite often because the county we are in, Lake County Illinois, and McHenry are on the border of Kenosha, Wisconsin, so there are quite a few clients. We spend half of the time in Wisconsin and the half of the time in Illinois, and since Milwaukee is closer for us than Chicago there are a lot of people who move around.

What Are Possible Penalties For Multiple Offenses In Both Illinois And Wisconsin?

A second time offender in Illinois would still be charged with a misdemeanor, but court supervision is only available once in their lifetime. If convicted after a second arrest for DUI, then they would get revoked for a year, so they would have no breath device in their car and they would have to go through a full and formal administrative hearing. There would be a minimum of 10 days in jail or 240 hours of public service along with the fines, and the person would still have to go for counseling depending on their circumstances, whether or not it was aggravated. The person can very easily get jail for more than 10 days at a minimum for their second offense.

In Wisconsin, it would become a misdemeanor on the person’s second offense, so they could get up to 9 months in jail along with their revocation, and the fines could go up. A person would be more likely to get jail in Wisconsin than in Illinois. A third offense would be a felony in Illinois, and a class 4 felony that would carry a possible penalty of one to three years in prison. Fines would not usually come into play much at that point, because they would be looking more at jail sentence. The fines would come up to around $25,000; it would be very rare for someone to get a fine of more than the misdemeanor amount, but then there would also be jail time involved.

It would not be a felony until the fourth time in Wisconsin, so the first three offenses would all be misdemeanors. On your third offense in Wisconsin, if you blow on the low category, it’s 90 days, if you blow on the high category it’s a whole year in jail. The person would not get day-per-day credit in Wisconsin, so they would have to do 360 days if they were given 360 days. There are some harsher consequences in Wisconsin, although it would not be a felony as quickly as it would in Illinois.

What Happens When Someone Who Lives In Wisconsin But Works In Illinois Or Vice Versa Is Charged With A DUI?

Whatever state the person was arrested in, they would get the normal treatment for a person in that state, although there would be a giant catch-22 between the two states. A Wisconsin driver who got a DUI in Illinois would be treated like an Illinois resident, so they would get court supervision on their first DUI. An Illinois resident who went to Wisconsin would be treated like people are treated there. They would get a revocation and a work permit, which would be good in Wisconsin but then they would send the revocation to Illinois where the person would lose that permit, and they would have to have a full formal hearing after a year of revocation. There are big differences between the two states although overall it would be better to have a Wisconsin license.

For more information on DUI Charges In Wisconsin versus Illinois, a free initial consultation is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (847) 244-4636 today.

Barry Boches, Esq.

Get your questions answered - call me for your free phone consultation (847) 244-4636.

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