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SMART. AGGRESSIVE DEFENSE
(608) 628-3865
SMART. AGGRESSIVE DEFENSE
(608) 628-3865

Practice Areas

The Law Office of Nicholas J. Rifelj, LLC is a full service criminal defense firm. Attorney Nicholas Rifelj has successfully represented persons accused all forms of criminal and traffic offenses, including but not limited to the following areas:
DRUNK DRIVING
PROBATION REVOCATION
BATTERY
ASSAULT
DISORDERLY CONDUCT
DRUG OFFENSES
HOMICIDE
SEXUAL ASSAULT
TRAFFIC OFFENSES
PROPERTY OFFENSES
If you have been accused of a crime, any crime, call Attorney Rifelj at (608) 628-3865 for a free consultation.
OPERATING WHILE INTOXICATED - OVERVIEW
Wisconsin law prohibits a driver 21 years of age or older from operating a motor vehicle:
- With a Blood/Breath Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or greater;
- While under the influence of an intoxicant;
- With a detectable amount of a restricted controlled substance in his or her blood; or
- While under the influence of a controlled substance or any other drug.
For drivers with three or more prior Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) convictions, the limit is lower: they cannot operate a motor vehicle if their BAC is greater than 0.02.
In Wisconsin, the term “operating” is specifically used in place of the term “driving”. Accordingly, in Wisconsin, driving a vehicle is not required to be convicted of OWI. Starting your car’s ignition, even if merely intended to turn on the car’s heat, is considered to be “operating” under Wisconsin law.
Drivers less than 21 years of age are required by law to maintain "absolute sobriety," and, for them, driving with any amount of alcohol in their system is illegal.
A driver is "under the influence" when his or her ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired. A person's ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired if he or she is less able to safely control the vehicle because of the consumption of alcohol or controlled substances. Even if your blood alcohol concentration is below 0.08, you can still be convicted of OWI if it can be proven that you are impaired by the effects of alcohol in your system.
Penalties for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated range from a forfeiture and license revocation for a first offense, to up to 6 years imprisonment, 3 year license revocation and possible seizure of vehicles for subsequent offenses. Additionally, more severe penalties apply if injury or death results.
OWI PENALTIES (for offenses committed after July 1, 2010)
1st Offense OWI:
Jail: None. In Wisconsin, a first offense is a civil (non-criminal) proceeding. Many 1st offense cases are tried before a municipal court, as opposed to a county circuit court. However, if a minor under 16 years of age is a passenger at the time of the offense, the possible jail exposure is 5 days – 6 months.
Fine: $150 - $300 (not including court costs and additional surcharges)
DL Revocation: 6-9 months (immediate eligibility for an occupational license)
Ignition Interlock Device: Only if the driver’s blood alcohol concentration is 0.15 or higher
1st Offense - Chemical Test Refusal:
Jail: None.
Fine: None
DL Revocation: 1 year (occupational license after 30 days)
Ignition Interlock Device: Yes (mandatory)

2nd Offense OWI:
Jail: 5 days (minimum) – 6 months (maximum)
Fine: $350 - $1,100 (not including court costs and additional surcharges)
DL Revocation: 12-18 months (occupational license after 45 days OR after 12 months if 2 or more offenses are within 5 years of each other)
Ignition Interlock Device: Yes (mandatory)

2nd Offense - Chemical Test Refusal:
Jail: None.
Fine: None
DL Revocation: 2 year (occupational license after 90 days OR after 12 months if 2 or more offenses are within 5 years of each other)
Ignition Interlock Device: Yes (mandatory)

3rd Offense OWI:
Jail: 45 days (minimum) – 12 months (maximum)
Fine: $600 - $2,000 (not including court costs and additional surcharges)
DL Revocation: 2 years – 3 years (occupational license after 45 days OR after 12 months if 2 or more offenses are within 5 years of each other)
Ignition Interlock Device: Yes (mandatory)

3rd + Offense - Chemical Test Refusal:
Jail: None.
Fine: None
DL Revocation: 3 years (occupational license after 120 days OR after 12 months if 2 or more offenses are within 5 years of each other)
Ignition Interlock Device: Yes (mandatory)

4th Offense OWI: MISDEMEANOR – (if no previous offenses within 5 years)
Jail: 45 days (minimum) – 12 months (maximum)
Fine: $600 - $2,000 (not including court costs and additional surcharges)
DL Revocation: 2 years – 3 years (occupational license after 45 days OR after 12 months if 2 or more offenses are within 5 years of each other)
Ignition Interlock Device: Yes (mandatory)

4th Offense OWI: FELONY – (if previous offense within 5 years)
Jail: 6 months (minimum) – 6 years (maximum)
Fine: $600 - $10,000 (not including court costs and additional surcharges)
DL Revocation: 2 years – 3 years (occupational license after 45 days OR after 12 months if 2 or more offenses are within 5 years of each other)
Ignition Interlock Device: Yes (mandatory)

5th or 6th Offense: FELONY
Jail: 6 months (minimum) – 6 years (maximum)
Fine: $600 - $10,000 (not including court costs and additional surcharges)
DL Revocation: 2 years – 3 years (occupational license after 45 days OR after 12 months if 2 or more offenses are within 5 years of each other)
Ignition Interlock Device: Yes (mandatory)

7th, 8th or 9th Offense: FELONY
Jail: 3 years (minimum) – 10 years (maximum)
Fine: up to $25,000 (not including court costs and additional surcharges)
DL Revocation: 2 years – 3 years (occupational license after 45 days OR after 12 months if 2 or more offenses are within 5 years of each other)
Ignition Interlock Device: Yes (mandatory)

10th + Offense: FELONY
Jail: 4 years (minimum) – 12.5 years (maximum)
Fine: up to $25,000 (not including court costs and additional surcharges)
DL Revocation: 2 years – 3 years (occupational license after 45 days OR after 12 months if 2 or more offenses are within 5 years of each other)
Ignition Interlock Device: Yes (mandatory)
Causing Injury While OWI (no prior OWIs/Refusals)
Jail: 30 days (minimum) – 1 year (maximum)
Fine: $300 - $2,000 (not including court costs and additional surcharges)
DL Revocation: 1 year – 2 years (occupational license after 60 days OR after 12 months if 2 or more offenses are within 5 years of each other)
Ignition Interlock Device: Yes (mandatory)

Causing Injury While OWI (if ANY prior OWIs/Refusals) - FELONY
Jail: 6 years (maximum)
Fine: up to $10,000
DL Revocation: 2 years – 3 years (occupational license after 60 days OR after 12 months if 2 or more offenses are within 5 years of each other)
Ignition Interlock Device: Yes (mandatory)

Causing Great Bodily Harm While OWI - FELONY
Jail: 12.5 years (maximum)
Fine: up to $25,000
DL Revocation: 2 years (occupational license after 120 days OR after 12 months if 2 or more offenses are within 5 years of each other)
Ignition Interlock Device: Yes (mandatory)

Causing Homicide While OWI - FELONY
Jail: 25 years (maximum)
Fine: up to $100,000
DL Revocation: 5 years (occupational license after 120 days OR after 12 months if 2 or more offenses are within 5 years of each other)
Ignition Interlock Device: Yes (mandatory)

PROBATION REVOCATION
If you are currently on probation, a probation revocation can be even more serious than a normal criminal case. Your probation either will or will not be revoked. There is no third option. If your probation is revoked, you will be returned to Court for sentencing. Hiring an attorney experienced in handling revocations is vital to present your side of the story in the best manner possible, whether that is to your probation agent, to an administrative law judge, or to a sentencing judge.
Your probation agent maintains an extraordinary level of discretion of your life while under his or her supervision. You can be placed in custody (on a hold) if your agent merely suspects any violation of any probationary rule. Once placed in custody, your agent can wait for several days before ever making contact with you. Hiring an experienced attorney can provide an immediate line of communication between you and your agent that would not otherwise exist.
Additionally, whenever your agent does make contact with you, you will be required to give provide a statement. Remaining silent is not an option for a person under supervision. Speaking with an attorney before making that statement can be vitally important.
A revocation hearing is not much different than a criminal trial. Providing a smart, aggressive defense means preparing as if the matter will proceed to a revocation hearing. Probation agents are often times more likely to negotiate an Alternative to Revocation if they know that the revocation will otherwise be vigorously defended.
If you have been placed on a probation hold, contact Attorney Rifelj immediately at 608-628-3865 to preserve you rights.
SERIOUS OFFENSES
All criminal offenses are serious. All crimes carry with them the possibility of jail or prison sentences. You need immediate representation to protect your rights. Attorney Rifelj has dealt with the entire spectrum of criminal activity, from homicide to traffic offenses. Call Attorney Nicholas Rifelj immediately at 608.628.3865 for a free consultation.

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    137 E Wilson St
    Madison, WI 53703