Don’t underestimate the impact of an OWI

On Behalf of | May 14, 2024 | DUI

An OWI (operating while intoxicated) charge can happen to just about anyone who drives after having a drink or two. Working parents returning from a happy hour, recent college grads out with friends and football fans out tailgating can all wind up in the same predicament. 

No matter who you are, the situation carries serious repercussions, extending far beyond the initial legal penalties. It’s important to recognize the wide-ranging impact an OWI can have on an individual’s life. 

The far-reaching consequences of an OWI

drunk driving conviction in Wisconsin doesn’t just end with fines or a temporary suspension of driving privileges. It can lead to a host of challenges that many might not anticipate. Here are some of the ways an OWI can disrupt your life:

  • Restricted mobility: Losing the ability to drive can upend your daily routine, making it difficult to get to work, school or run errands. 
  • Financial strain: There are long-term economic consequences, such as increased insurance premiums, that can strain your budget for years.
  • Employment hurdles: Some employers may reconsider your job suitability if your role involves driving or if they require a clean record. Missing work because of court dates or lack of transportation can also adversely affect employment.
  • Educational setbacks: College students may face disciplinary action from their institution or lose scholarships.

Moreover, the impact on one’s personal and social life can be profound:

  • Ongoing reminders: The embarrassment of having to use an ignition interlock device can be a daily reminder of the offense.
  • Personal relationships: Relationships can suffer as family and friends react to the offense and its implications.
  • Social stigma: The stigma attached to a drunk driving offense can lead to social isolation and a blow to one’s self-esteem.

Repeat offenses and aggravating factors can increase these and other penalties, as well as fines and incarceration periods.

Steps to take following an OWI

Because of the tremendous impact an OWI can have on you and your family, it is essential to act promptly after receiving an OWI charge. Consult with a lawyer who is well-versed in Wisconsin’s OWI laws to explore your options. With an effective defense strategy, the consequences can be managed and mitigated.

These charges are serious, and they will not go away on their own. Thus, tackling them sooner rather than later and with the guidance of an experienced attorney is vital.