In Wisconsin, the law is extremely liberal in determining which prior
convictions count. There are three specific look back windows. If there is a prior conviction
within the last ten years, the new violation will be considered a second offense. However, in terms of a fourth offense,
a fourth offense will be considered a felony if there are three prior offenses since January 1, 1989 and one of those priors
are within five years of the new violation date.
there are two prior convictions since January 1, 1989, then the new violation will be a third offense. For
purposes of third or subsequent offenses, the look back period is lifetime. However, when the legislature
enacted the change in the law they decided to start your lifetime on January 1, 1989. Thus, only violations
on or after January 1, 1989 count for the purpose of determining prior convictions. Convictions, revocations and suspensions from
other jurisdictions and from recognized American Indian tribe jurisdictions also count. Also, refusal revocations
from Wisconsin or other jurisdictions count. While the definition of conviction is very broad, not all
prior convictions count. Thus, if you have a drunk driving related offense in another jurisdiction, it
is critical that you contact a qualified attorney to determine if it can be counted in Wisconsin.