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Will An Alcohol Offense In Wisconsin Follow You Home?

Posted on behalf of Donahue & Kililis, PC | December 3, 2021

You headed north of the state line to have some fun with family or friends. Drinks were poured, jokes told and a great time was had by all. “Best day ever”, you thought to yourself as you headed south and the clock approached midnight.

Then it happened: the lights. The siren. The stop. The flashlight. The questions. The cuffs. You were arrested for OWI in Wisconsin.

Good thing your drivers licensed was issued by Illinois. This won’t follow you home across the border and cause issues in your personal or professional life, right?


Wisconsin is far from Las Vegas geographically and rhetorically. What happens in Wisconsin absolutely does not stay in Wisconsin.

Your Wisconsin OWI will not immediately cause you problems, but it is only a matter of time until Illinois finds out about it due to OWI convictions being uploaded to a national database. Once Illinois becomes aware of your OWI, you will be exposed to penalties such as:

  • Revocation of your Illinois driver’s license for one year on a first offense and up to a lifetime revocation if you have three prior convictions
  • Mandatory jail sentence to be served in Wisconsin, if you have a prior OWIs in Wisconsin
  • Criminal penalties in Illinois, since any out-of-state DWI will be treated as a conviction

Yes, you read that right. Illinois will treat your OWI as a conviction regardless of whether you are convicted in Wisconsin. That will leave you ineligible for court supervision, which is the preferred outcome in Illinois DUIs due to the lack of license revocation.

The best course of action is to not get behind the wheel after drinking. The next best course of action is to make sure you have an experienced DUI defense attorney representing your interests as soon as possible after a Wisconsin OWI arrest. Make sure to contact our office to help you prepare the best possible defense.

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