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OWI vs. DUI Knowing the Differences and Consequences

Whether it is an OWI (operating while under the influence) or a DUI (driving under the influence), the consequences can be rough if you don’t fully understand the charge and the difference between the two charges. Each term does refer to the use of operating a vehicle while intoxicated on liquor or other substances but each carry different consequences depending on which state you reside.

An OWI is when the defendant operates a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol greater that the state legal limit. Operate is by definition when the vehicle is running and moving. the same definition applies to DUI. It’s the level of intoxication and the state in which the defendant lives that can determine the OWI or DUI charge. Some states use DUI rather than OWI. In most states the legal limit for alcohol is .08 percent for individuals who are over the age of 21. Some states do have different levels of intoxication for those who are under 21 or those who violated the OWI while operating a commercial type vehicle. If the defendant has an experience Milwaukee OWI lawyer, the OWI charge may be reduced. this will depend on the level of intoxication and whether the defendant is remorseful of their violation. An OWI can carry heftier fines than those who are charged with a DUI. Each state also has what is called a “lookback” period. The lookback period may be 10 years and if the offender commits the same violation within this 10 year period, the new OWI charge can have consequences of jail time, larger fines and a person can have their driver’s license revoked for up to three years.

Although OWI and DUI are similar, most states, like Wisconsin have an implied consent to a chemical test and if the defendant refuses a test, the fines can be substantial and the driver can face suspension of their driver’s license even if it is a first OWI offense. A Milwaukee OWI lawyer can have fines and sentences reduced and also help avoid suspension of your driver’s license. Depending on if this is a first, second or third offense, fines can triple and jail time can occur. The best defense is being educated about your charges and making sure you have an experienced attorney.

In summary, an OWI can have heftier fines or penalties, the alcohol level found using the BAC (blood alcohol concentration) test can also determine the type or level of charge. Once the defendant is charged, it is in his or her best interest to consult a Milwaukee OWI lawyer.

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