A common DUI law across the nation is the definition of being legally drunk. This is determined by a test of your blood alcohol content (BAC). The BAC for being legally drunk is .08. This is the same level used in Wisconsin. One difference in Wisconsin laws, as it pertains to drunk drivers, is the title they use to refer to this offense. Operating While Impaired or OWI is the same as a Driving Under the Influence or DUI.
Some folks have tried to make the argument that they were arrested for an OWI while the car was stalled or in a ditch. That doesn’t hold up for a second in court. Wisconsin DUI and OWI laws have been established to curtail the instances of drunk driving and make the roads and highways safer for everyone.
Wisconsin OWI/DUI Fines and Penalties
A first conviction for a DUI in Wisconsin is considered a forfeiture offense. In other words, if found guilty your privilege of driving is taken away from six to nine months. You’ll also be hit with a fine of up to $300 plus an OWI surcharge of another $355. For a second offense you’re looking at jail time of anywhere from five days to six months. The fines for a second offense can go up to $1,000 with the additional OWI surcharge attached.
A third DUI/OWI conviction can land you in jail for at least thirty days up to one year with your license being taken away for up to three years. The fines increase to $2,000. With a fourth conviction, your minimum jail time goes up to sixty days along with a fine based on your BAC level.
Once you have been convicted of a fifth drunken driving offense in Wisconsin you have entered into felony territory. This means jail time for not less than six months and up to five years with a license suspension of up to three years.
Any DUI/OWI conviction also means an automatic six points on your license and mandatory attendance in an alcohol treatment and assessment program.
Wisconsin DUI/OWI Seizure Laws
A person who has been found guilty of a third DUI/OWI can have their vehicle seized and put up for auction in a forfeiture sale. If a judge passes this sentence and the person does not surrender their vehicle they can face an additional $500 fine.
Wisconsin Occupational License
If convicted of a DUI/OWI in Wisconsin you can apply for an occupational license which will allow you to use your car to for work, school or family. A first time offender can apply right away but with a second or third offense you will have to wait for thirty days before applying.
Along with the Occupational License, you will be obligated to carry an SR-22 rider on your auto insurance. With this rider, you will have to comply with occasional testing and verification of attending alcohol treatment programs. It is also a high premium.
Wisconsin Implied Consent Laws
With your acceptance of a driver’s license in Wisconsin you are also accepting the Implied Consent contract. This means you agree to be subjected to any type of test needed to determine your BAC. If you refuse to take the tests at the time of your arrest then you will be subjected to an automate license suspension for one year.