It doesn’t matter if you call it operating while intoxicated or driving while intoxicated, nothing changes the fact that this is extremely dangerous.

When you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it’s best to stay out of your vehicle. Getting behind the wheel can lead to a serious crime that lands you in hot water with the authorities.

Just because you are arrested for operating while intoxicated does not mean that you will be convicted. If you are, however, the court can hand out the following punishment:

— First offense: a six to nine month license suspension, along with a fine of up to $300.

— Second offense within 10 years: up to six months in jail, a 12 to 18 month license suspension, and a fine of up to $1,100.

— Third offense within 10 years: up to one year in jail, a two to three year license suspension, and a fine of up to $2,000.

— Fourth offense, including a minimum of one conviction within five years: this is charged as a felony and can result in up to six years in jail, a three year license suspension, and a fine of $10,000.

— Fifth offense within 10 years: also a felony with the same punishment as a fourth offense.

Due to the potential for a serious punishment, you don’t want to waste any time learning more about your legal rights. Instead, if you’re charged with the crime of operating while intoxicated, you need to implement a defense strategy that can potentially help you avoid the most serious consequences.

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Robert W. Keller - author

Robert W. Keller practices exclusively in the areas of criminal defense law, and has been doing so since 1992. Clients are represented throughout the State of Wisconsin in both State and Federal Courts.