Allowances for four first time OWIs in Wisconsin

Getting charged with Operating While Intoxicated in Wisconsin can have terrible consequences for drivers of passenger vehicles. Not only do insurance premiums spike but people may lose their jobs based on their line of work. Commercial drivers, for instance, must maintain a clean driving record. If convicted, it often has terrible consequences regarding many professionals’ abilities to retain certain licenses or get a good job later on. 

Drivers in Wisconsin have, however, found a loophole in the current OWI law. According to TMJ4 individuals may get arrested up to four times and face no criminal charges if they have a clean record. It does, however, depend on the type of vehicle. In this case, the loophole seems to be based around being caught operating different types of recreational vehicles. 

Wisconsin law has roughly four different classifications for recreational vehicles. So, what happens when an individual gets these four arrests? They count as four traffic tickets. Proposals to close the loophole failed in the past, but legislators plan to try again. 

In fact, WMTV reported on this issue back in 2018. It also added that when people become charged and even convicted for operating recreational vehicles while intoxicated, it may not affect the person’s driver’s license and regular driving record. The state is considering changing this so that OWI convictions related to recreational vehicles get combined with those related to passenger vehicles, thereby counting against a driver’s official record. 

Local authorities in the article pinpointed snowmobiles as the biggest issue. People often drive these to bars, have a few drinks and then drive them home. Authorities caution drivers to keep their blood alcohol level under the legal limit or they may get a ticket. While the consequences are not as dire as a ticket for a passenger vehicle, the costs can rack up.