Wisconsin's Drugged Driving Law

Learn about the laws and penalties for driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin’s drugged driving law is found at Wisconsin Statutes Annotated Section 346.63. It states that: “No person may drive or operate a motor vehicle while:

(a) Under the influence of an intoxicant, a controlled substance, a controlled substance analog or any combination of an intoxicant, a controlled substance and a controlled substance analog, under the influence of any other drug to a degree which renders him or her incapable of safely driving, or under the combined influence of an intoxicant and any other drug to a degree which renders him or her incapable of safely driving; or (am) The person has a detectable amount of a restricted controlled substance in his or her blood.

In Wisconsin it’s a crime to drive while impaired from drug use. No blood testing standard is established in Wisconsin – that is, there is no fixed amount of drugs within the blood system that determines conviction. Whether a driver is impaired is determined on a case-by-case basis and at the discretion of the prosecutor.

Wisconsin also prohibits driving by anyone with a detectable amount of controlled substances including a detectable amount of methamphetamine, gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol in his or her blood.

What drugs are prohibited?

Wisconsin’s drugged driving law is directed at the prohibition of controlled substances -- that is, any drug or chemical regulated by the government. A listing of controlled substances regulated by federal law are found at the Drug Enforcement Administration website. There is a per se prohibition (any amount taken will result in conviction) if the defendant has any of the following in his or her body:

(a) A controlled substance other than a tetrahydrocannabinol.

(b) A controlled substance analog of a controlled substance described in par. (a).

(c) Cocaine or any of its metabolites.

(d) Methamphetamine.

(e) Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol.

It’s generally not an acceptable defense to a drugged driving charge to claim that the driver is legally entitled to use the controlled substance. However, a defense can be made if the driver proves by a preponderance of the evidence that at the time of the incident or occurrence he or she had a valid prescription for methamphetamine or one of its metabolic precursors, gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol.

What happens if a driver is convicted of drug impaired driving in Wisconsin?

A driver arrested for drugged driving in Wisconsin will be charged with driving under the influence and subject to DUI penalties. A conviction for drugged driving will be considered as a prior offense for purposes of calculating punishment regardless of whether a subsequent offense is due to alcohol or drugs. Read more about Wisconsin’s DUI laws.

Do Wisconsin drivers have to submit to drug testing?

Yes, there is an implied consent rule for blood and urine testing for drugged drivers. The refusal to take the test can be admitted into evidence against the driver.

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