A Criminal Defense Attorney Licensed in Illinois and Wisconsin Explains the Consequences to a Driver who Lives in Wisconsin but got arrested for DUI or OWI in Illinois


I live in Wisconsin but got a DUI or OWI in Illinois, now what?

This is a great question that I am hearing more and more from Wisconsin clients. Although the question seems simple and straightforward the answer can be quite complicated depending on the facts, circumstances and nature of the individual DUI or OWI case. The purpose of this article is to provide a basic overview of relevant interstate laws and to educate and inform the Wisconsin driver who is arrested for a DUI violation in Illinois. Please contact the Richard Albanese Law Office directly to address your specific case and concerns.

DUI vs. OWI, what’s the difference and what’s the same?

DUI is the term used in Illinois while OWI is the term used in Wisconsin to refer to driving while under the influence of alcohol or other substances, but the way these offenses are treated in each state couldn’t differ more. For the first offender Wisconsin driver Illinois law can be more stringent than Wisconsin although the long term impact on license revocation or suspension is comparable after the Illinois case is resolved. A first time OWI is a non-criminal civil forfeiture in Wisconsin. A Wisconsin driver can pay court costs of under $900 and generally be done with the case facing no jail time. A routine first offender in Wisconsin can obtain immediate relief for driving to work through an occupational license through the Wisconsin DOT. In Illinois a Statutory Summary Suspension may require a driver to install a costly BAID device to their car on a first offense if they wish to drive. A first time DUI is not a civil matter for Wisconsin drivers or any drivers for that matter. A first offense DUI is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by 1-364 days in jail or supervision, probation or conditional discharge as other alternative sentences. Fines and court costs are also not as standardized as in Wisconsin and the court costs could be double or triple what a Wisconsin driver would face in Wisconsin on a OWI first offense. Generally, a first offender Wisconsin driver with a DUI in Illinois could be eligible for court supervision, another concept not recognized in Wisconsin. Court supervision will not be entered as a judgment or criminal conviction against the Wisconsin driver, but the State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation will be notified nonetheless. After the Illinois DUI case is done the Wisconsin DOT will revoke the Wisconsin driver’s license for a period of 6-9 months. Just like as if the offense happened in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Driver is eligible to apply for an occupational license immediately for work purposes.

Why do I need a lawyer licensed in both Illinois and Wisconsin to handle my DUI case in Illinois?

This is another great question I field all the time. In Wisconsin it is not uncommon for a first offender to merely send a payment in the mail or plead guilty to the first offense OWI civil forfeiture without hiring or consulting an attorney at all. While that approach may not be the wisest one it is common as a first offender is not facing jail time, only a monetary forfeiture and temporary loss of driving privileges. By contrast, If you are a Wisconsin driver with a DUI in Illinois you are facing potential jail time as the charge is a criminal offense. You also have a right to a jury trial of 12 people from the community to find you guilty or not guilty as opposed to Wisconsin where a fee must be paid within ten days of an initial appearance to guarantee the right of a 6 person jury. You need an attorney licensed in Illinois and Wisconsin to best defend your rights in court. It is especially valuable to have one attorney who can explain and counsel you on the impact of your Illinois DUI to your Wisconsin license and criminal background than paying for a consultation with a second attorney in Wisconsin. Additionally, if the Illinois attorney is not licensed or well versed in Wisconsin law it will be difficult for them to properly advise you on how to proceed with your case considering the consequences they don’t know about it that you, the driver, will face in Wisconsin down the road.

The Richard Albanese Law Office Difference!

Richard Albanese is licensed in both Illinois and Wisconsin and the sole focus of his practice is handling Criminal and Traffic offenses across the States of Illinois and Wisconsin. Richard routinely represents drivers and other clients in both Illinois and Wisconsin in the courts of both states and has been published in the Lake County Bar Journal on the topic of interstate consequences of Illinois and Wisconsin traffic laws. Richard has handled thousands of DUI and OWI cases combining his time as both a Prosecutor for over a decade and now as a defense attorney. Richard has tried Felony and Misdemeanor DUI cases and handled expert witnesses and complex defenses at motions, bench and jury trials. Richard Albanese possesses the knowledge and experience to put you at ease in understanding the consequences of what you are facing in Illinois and Wisconsin as well with your DUI, traffic or criminal case. Please contact the Richard Albanese Law Office for a free consultation concerning your case today at (312) 882-1973 or on the web at http://www.CriminalandTrafficDefenseAttorney.com.