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Convicted of a third drunk driving offense and believing that conviction to be wrong, a Chicago Illinois man contacted Attorney Tracey Wood at Van Wagner & Wood for the purposes of challenging his Wisconsin OWI conviction. Attorney Wood filed an immediate direct appeal with the Wisconsin Court of Appeals who overturned the lower court's decision, reversed the conviction, and found him only guilty of a first offense (non criminal charge).
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Repeatedly Voted Madison's Best Criminal Defense Attorneys: Van Wagner & Wood, S.C.

Under Wisconsin law, a repeat offender is subject to enhanced sentencing. Whether a person is classified as a repeat offender depends upon the dates of the current and the previous criminal charges and convictions. The determination is made at the time of sentencing.

Repeat Offender Time Periods

If at the time of sentencing of the current conviction the convicted defendant had been convicted of either one or more felonies or three or more misdemeanors during the five years immediately preceding the current criminal conviction, then they are a repeat offender under Wisconsin law, provided the previous convictions had not yet been reversed, vacated, or amended down to a noncriminal charge.

Previous convictions that have successfully been stayed, suspended, withheld, or pardoned are still used as prior convictions for the purposes of determining repeat offender status, unless those convictions were amended as a result of a not guilty post conviction finding.

Jail time and imprisonment do not count if the incarceration occurred within the previous five years. The period of time during which the defendant was incarcerated in jail or prison extends the five-year period of time.

Increased Sentencing

The term for sentencing of a current misdemeanor or felony providing up to one year imprisonment, so long as all prior convictions were misdemeanors, can be increased up to two years.

The term for sentencing of a current misdemeanor or felony providing one to ten years imprisonment, with the defendant having at least one prior felony conviction, can be increased up to four years.

If the current crime provides for a period of imprisonment of more than ten years, then the maximum sentence of the current conviction can be increased by as much as two years, if all prior convictions were misdemeanors, and as much as four years, if any prior conviction was a felony.


Under Wisconsin law, a persistent repeat offender:

Is currently convicted of a serious felony and has been previously convicted of two or more serious felonies which are still on the defendant's criminal record as unreversed convictions, each of the previous felonies occurring on separate occasions with a lapse of time between them, or

Is currently convicted of a serious child sex offense, and has been previously convicted of at least one other serious sex offense,

Unless the defendant was pardoned for one or both of the previous felonies on the grounds of a not guilty finding.

A persistent repeat offender who is currently convicted of a felony can be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole or extended supervision.

Other sanctions may exist which will cause a lesser crime to be comparable to a more serious crime. Because of the complexities involved in these determinations, details of a court's perception of a crime currently under consideration for sentencing are best left to discussions with the lawyers at Van Wagner & Wood.

Contact Van Wagner & Wood

If you are under investigation for a crime or drunk driving offense, if you have already been charged with a crime or drunk driving violation, or if you have already been convicted but believe your conviction or your sentence were wrong, call ( locally in Madison, Wisconsin, through Wisconsin) or e-mail ( ) the attorneys at Van Wagner & Wood right away. They will give you a brief but professional first-impression analysis of your case and your situation, which will allow you to take an important first step in defending the case against you. You can also submit information about a criminal offense investigation or charge or a drunk driving OWI investigation or charge for a free case review.