Drunk Driving Defense Law in Wisconsin

Drivers arrested for drunk driving in Wisconsin can face fines and have their licenses taken away. Multiple OWI charges can include jail time and more severe penalties. To understand your legal options and how to avoid a conviction for drunk driving, talk to a Wisconsin OWI defense attorney to help resolve your case.

Wisconsin Drunk Driving Laws

Wisconsin law refers to drunk driving as operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI), which prohibits driving under the influence of any substance that makes a person incapable of driving safely. Operating a vehicle with a BAC of .08% or more is called a prohibited alcohol citation in Wisconsin and is often given as a second citation with an OWI.

Underage drivers have a lower BAC threshold due to Wisconsin’s “not a drop” law. Anyone under 21 years of age operating a vehicle with any BAC may be charged with an absolute sobriety ticket with separate special penalties.

Implied Consent: Yes

Enhanced Penalties: BAC of .17% or .20% or more; accidents causing serious bodily injury or death; operating while intoxicated with a child passenger in the car; prior convictions

The first OWI offense comes with penalties including a $150 to $300 fine; community service; alcohol or drug evaluation and treatment; a six to nine-month license revocation; and an ignition interlock device (IID).

The second and third offenses are misdemeanors, punishable by five days to six months of imprisonment; a $350 to $1,100 fine; community service; alcohol or drug evaluation and treatment; probation; a 12 to 18-month license revocation; and an IID.

A fourth offense or any subsequent offenses are felonies with penalties including 60 days to 6 years imprisonment; a $600 to $10,000 fine; community service; alcohol or drug evaluation and treatment; probation; a two to three-year license revocation; and an IID.

Breath Test Refusal in Wisconsin

Under Wisconsin law, chemical test refusal comes with penalties. You can get a one-year license suspension for a chemical test refusal. Your license can be taken away for two years after the second time and three years after the third refusal.

Potential Defenses in Drunken Driving Cases

If you are facing potential OWI charges, make sure that you know what rights you have and what legal options are at your disposal. An experienced Wisconsin OWI defense attorney may be able to negotiate a plea agreement to reduce your penalties and help you avoid a drunk driving conviction.

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