Phoenix, AZ asked in DUI / DWI for Wisconsin

Q: My name is Clara and I'm assisting someone with a legal situation. I would appreciate your help very much.

He was arrested in Wisconsin in 2012 for 7th offense OWI, (class "G" Felony). However, It is my understanding that in 2016, the penalties pertaining to this type of offense in Wisconsin became more severe, and now are designated class "F". There is an upcoming hearing but he has not yet been sentenced. Our question is: Which sentencing guidelines will be applied in this situation, as they carry drastically different terms / punishment. The arrest record still reflects a "G" felony. Any information and / or guidance which you can offer would be most appreciated. Thank you so much for your time and assistance.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Michael Hayes
Michael Hayes
  • DUI & DWI Lawyer
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • Licensed in Wisconsin

A: The applicable range of penalty for an offense is determined by the violation date, not the conviction date. The arrest record correctly shows a Class G Felony, punishable by a fine not to exceed $25,000 or Imprisonment not to exceed 10 years, or both. Section 939.50(3)(g). The initial confinement can not exceed five years.

You mention the OWI arrest being in 2012 and you state the penalties became more severe in 2016, with the reclassification of OWI 7th to be a Class F Felony.

2019 Wisconsin Act 106 provides that an OWI arrest on or after March 1, 2019 for an individual with six prior pertinent convictions, shall be charged with the Class F Felony, with statutory language requiring a mandatory minimum three-year period of initial confinement.

You want to know which “sentencing guidelines” will be in effect when he is sentenced. This depends on which Judicial District includes the county where the case is pending. Whichever guidelines are in effect, the date of the violation determines which guidelines should be considered. The judge at sentencing is not required to confine a sentence within the range as set forth in the guidelines, but the judge may not exceed the maximum penalty of five years initial confinement followed by five years extended supervision, section 973.01(2).

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