Wisconsin DUI and OWI Laws, Fines and Penalties

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In Wisconsin, law enforcement use the term OWI (operating a vehicle while intoxicated) which is the same as a DUI (driving under the influence) in other states.

What are the penalties for a DUI/OWI in Wisconsin?


1st Offense

2nd Offense

3rd Offense

4th Offense 5th or 6th Offense

Jail

None

5 days to 6 months

30 days to 1 year

60 days to 1 year 6 months to 6 years

Fines and Penalties

$150 to $300

$300 to $1,100

$600 to $2,000

$600 to $2,000 $600 to $10,000

License Suspension

6 to 9 months

12 to 18 months

2 to 3 years

2 to 3 years 2 to 3 years

IID** Required

No

Yes

Yes

Yes Yes

Lookback Period: 10 years (Period of time that prior OWI/DUIs are relevant for sentencing)

**Ignition Interlock Device

How much do you have to drink (BAC*) for a OWI/DUI in Wisconsin?

Under 21

.02% 

21 or older

.08%

Commercial

.04%

** BAC = blood alcohol content

How many drinks does it take? Check the BAC chart.

What if you refuse to take a chemical test in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin has an implied consent law. That means that if you refuse to submit to a chemical test you will be subject to a fine and automatic license suspension. Learn more about Wisconsin’s implied consent law.

 

1st Offense

2nd Offense

3rd Offense

Refusal to take test

1 year license revocation

2 year license revocation (offenses must be within 10 years of each other)

3 year license revocation (offenses must be within 10 years of each other)

Disclaimer: While we strive to keep this information up to date and accurate, it's important to understand that it's based on your states legislature. Your local courts, judges, district attorneys office and even local law enforcement will have a huge impact on how the law is actually applied in any given case. No amount of legal information can replace the advice of a local attorney familiar with DUI cases in your area.

Can you plead to a lesser offense than OWI/DUI in Wisconsin?

A defendant might receive a "wet reckless," or a conviction of reckless driving involving alcohol, as a result of a plea bargain in which a charge of drunk driving is reduced to a case of reckless driving. There is no statutory provision on whether a wet reckless plea bargain will be accepted in Wisconsin, but it's possible a lawyer may be able to create a plea bargain for you.

New Wisconsin Drunk Driving Laws

In 2010, Wisconsin enhanced penalties for those who refuse to submit to chemical testing when requested. This effectively makes Wisconsin an Implied Consent state.

Drinking and Driving Laws in Wisconsin

The State of Wisconsin prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle by a driver that has a .08 percent or above blood alcohol concentration (BAC).The .08 BAC limit is the standard measurement used throughout the United States for the "impaired" driver. The State of Wisconsin has lower BAC limits for drivers of commercial vehicles (.04) and a Zero Tolerance for drivers under the age of 21 (or .02 BAC). Wisconsin's DUI law also prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle by drivers under the influence of controlled substances such as marijuana, cocaine, meth, inhalants and other intoxicants.

The first time you are arrested for drunk driving in the State of Wisconsin you will be fined up to $300 and your drivers license will be suspended for 6 months or more. If there was a driver under the age of 16 in the vehicle at the time of your arrest all penalties received will be doubled. You may be ordered by the court to pay an additional driver improvement surcharge of $355 in addition to your original fine.

The second time you are convicted of a DUI in Wisconsin you will be fined from $350-$1,100. You will also be sent to Jail for a minimum of 5 days or up to 6 months. Your drivers license will also be suspended for 1 year or more. If there was a driver under the age of 16 in the vehicle at the time of your arrest all penalties received will be doubled. You may be ordered by the court to pay an additional driver improvement surcharge of $355 in addition to your original fine. After your second conviction, all vehicles that have your name on the title or registration may be subject to immobilization or Ignition Interlock Device.

If you are arrested and convicted of drunk driving a 3rd time in the State of Wisconsin you will be fined from $600-$2,000. Your drivers license will also be suspended for 1 year or more. You will be sent to jail for a minimum of 30 days or up to 1 year. If there was a driver under the age of 16 in the vehicle at the time of your arrest all penalties received will be doubled. You may be ordered by the court to pay an additional driver improvement surcharge of $355 in addition to your original fine. After your second conviction, all vehicles that have your name on the title or registration may be subject to immobilization or Ignition Interlock Device.

How many drinks does it take to reach the legal limit in Wisconsin? This question is often asked by drivers that want to know how many drinks they can have before they are considered legally impaired. Each individual has unique physical characteristics such as body weight, sex, body-fat percentage and others that contribute to a BAC score. There are charts and calculators that can be used as a reference, however these tools do not factor in all of the variables that apply to a blood alcohol concentration level.

The best answer is not to drink and drive . The State of Wisconsin has strict laws for drunk driving, and when you drink and drive in Wisconsin, you risk your freedom, finances and your future.

by: , Attorney

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