If you pile up enough drunk driving convictions, eventually you will get slapped with a felony conviction – even in Wisconsin, a state which is notoriously lenient on impaired drivers. Last year the state upped its anti-OWI game by making a 4th OWI a Class H felony.
A felony is a by definition a serious offense. And while Class H is not high on the ladder, and 4 offenses is a high number to rate a felony OWI (in many states it’s 3 and in some, 2). Consequences of a 4th OWI in Wisconsin can include:
- Fines up to $10,000
- 3 years’ license revocation
- Up to six years’ imprisonment
But there’s another consequence of a Wisconsin felony OWI that’s not often thought about: as a convicted felon, you will not be able to own a firearm of any kind. Not for protection, and not for recreation.
So you can say goodbye to Wisconsin hunting season. Group hunts are also not allowed, because everyone in a group hunt must possess a valid hunting license, which you can’t have if you can’t own a rifle.
The firearm provision is part of the fallout of a felony DUI that people rarely consider when they make the decision to drink and drive. There are more, of course. It’s hard to hold a job with a criminal record, and harder to get one. Getting loans, rentals, credit, and professional licenses can prove impossible. One’s entry into many professions – security, teaching, finance, law enforcement – even bartending is out of bounds.
If you have serious alcohol issues, and you know that sooner or later you will get behind the wheel again, despite previous convictions, it’s important that you address the issue. Rehab, counseling, and a voluntary ignition interlock are measures that could help prevent you from becoming a convicted felon, and losing privileges that most Wisconsonites take for granted.