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1. If charged with and/or convicted of a first offense OWI in Wisconsin you will likely not go to jail. An exception is if a child under 16 was in the car the case will be charged as a crime and have similar penalties to a second offense.
2. If convicted of a second offense or greater, there is mandatory minimum jail time. A judge has to impose the jail time. The only way to avoid the mandatory minimum is to get your case amended to something non-criminal, or win the case at trial.
3. Sometimes a driver convicted of OWI can agree to a treatment court or probation to lessen the amount of jail time, however, the mandatory minimum always applies.
4. Depending on the county, some drivers convicted of OWI are able to get jail diversion/electronic monitoring. This means the person serves their "jail" sentence by wearing a monitoring bracelet and following rules imposed by the jail/sheriff. Whether or not someone qualfies for electronic monitoring is decided by the sheriff/jail and NOT the court. In Madison, the jail will consider whether an alcohol monitor is required, the specific type of crime convicted of, behavioral history, pending charges, residence, and many other factors. In 2013 the cost for Dane County electronic monitoring is $20 per day. Senences less than 30 days must pay the full amount. Sentences more than 30 days must pay $420 at time of enrollment. For more info call Dane County Jail Diversion at: 608 266-9089.
5. For OWI third offense and higher there is an immediate report date. That means as soon as the judge sentences the driver in court, the bailiffs will take the person into custody to begin serving the sentence. For OWI first and second offense, the driver can pick a "report date" and set that date out 30-60 days from the date of sentencing in order to prepare to report and get their affairs in order.