Citizens of Wisconsin use the terms OWI and DUI simultaneously as synonyms both in their verbal and written communication. Have you ever wondered is there any difference between the two acronyms? Well, there is. DUI stand for driving under the influence (of alcohol or drugs), and OWI stands for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. As you can see, both terms describe the crime of drunk and drugged driving and identifying motorists who drive under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances. DUI is the most commonly used term for describing this kind of crime while OWI is mostly used in Wisconsin. Besides Wisconsin, OWI is also used in Indiana and Iowa.
Drunk Driving Charges in Wisconsin
Although the terms primarily describe the same crime, they can differently describe the severity of the drunk driving charge. In Wisconsin, operating while intoxicated means you don’t have to get caught driving the car to get charged for OWI. The Wisconsin OWI statute defines operating a vehicle as controlling any part of a car that is needed to make it move. So, this means you can get arrested for OWI just if you sitting intoxicated in the driver’s seat of a running but not moving car. Even your vehicle isn’t moving you can get drunk driving charges. To be charged with DUI, you must be caught under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances while driving a vehicle. Also, you should know that OWI doesn’t apply only to driving a car or truck. You can also get charged for these crimes if you are caught driving a boat while intoxicated, even a snowmobile. You can basically get an OWI for operating any motorized device.
Consequences of OWI Charges
OWI laws are as strict as DUI laws are and getting arrested, charged and convicted will definitely bring you many unpleasant consequences that can seriously affect every aspect of your life. Your license can be suspended, or you could completely lose it. Also, you will probably end up paying costly fines or even serving some jail time. First-time offenders have their license suspended for one year, and they also need to pay a fine as well as do some community service. If you get sentenced for driving while intoxicated, you must be rehabilitated before you get the right to get your driver’s license back. If you have been arrested and convicted for this crime more than once, you might get an ignition lock installed in your car. As a serious offender, you risk having your license taken away permanently as well as getting long jail time sentences.
Get Proper Legal Assistance
OWI charges are severe, and they can be properly handled only by hiring an OWI attorney. DUI and OWI have some similarities, but they are different in Wisconsin, and they can be filed differently, based on individual situations, usually depending upon the percentage found in the BAC test. If you have been charged with OWI, getting proper legal assistance can help you reduce your charge to DUI. A lawyer will explain your rights and options to you, give you legal advice and ensure you make the right decisions and moves while moving forward.