Facing allegations of drunk driving can be devastating to many Wisconsin residents. Not only does the process of defending one's self against the charges cost both time and money, but many people also suffer damage to their reputations even when allegations of driving while intoxicated are false. In some cases, individuals convicted of drunk driving lose their drivers licenses temporarily or permanently. Those losses can have long-term consequences on the affected individuals' abilities to earn wages.
When a person faces license revocation or has a suspended license but still attempts to drive, he can face additional charges if he is caught. Wisconsin recognizes two charges that arise out of the use of a driver's license when it is suspended or revoked - operating while suspended (OWS) and operating after revocation (OAR). Both carry significant consequences.
Charges of OAR can be either criminal or civil. If a person is suspected of operating a vehicle while possessing a revoked license, authorities will look at the reason for why the individual's license was revoked in the first place. If the revocation was due to a drunk driving charge such as operating while intoxicated, the OAR charge will be criminal. If the underlying revocation charge was based on other non-alcohol related conduct, the OAR charge could be civil.
Civil and criminal courts have different penalties that are assessed for proven bad conduct. While civil courts generally assess fines, criminal courts have the power to order incarceration for individuals convicted of crimes. Therefore, conviction on a criminal OAR charge could land a person in jail.
Individuals who lose their licenses but who receive occupational licenses for transporting themselves to and from work can also be cited if they violate the terms of their occupational permits. The penalties for these citations differ from those associated with OAR and OWS. Individuals who face OAR or OWS charges and who lost their licenses due to drunk driving convictions may choose to work with Wisconsin DUI attorneys to better understand the potential consequences associated with convictions for their alleged crimes.