Wisconsin DWI Law
What some other states refer to as driving while intoxicated (DWI) is known as operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) in Wisconsin. Some slight differences do exist in drunk driving laws in different states but they have significant similarities. OWI laws in Wisconsin prohibit operating cars, boats, trucks, snowmobiles and other vehicles while drunk. In Wisconsin even a first OWI or DWI offense carries severe consequences. But you can still have your charges reduced or dismissed altogether with the help of an experienced OWI lawyer.
What Are The Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits In Wisconsin
The DA is supposed to charge you within 3 years for a first, second, or third OWI offense. For a fourth offense and subsequent offenses, there is no limit on how long the DA has to charge you. You will only face these charges if you are caught operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or more. An individual with three prior OWI convictions on their record can be charged with a fourth OWI offense if they are caught operating a vehicle with a BAC of .02% or more. Any person under the age of 21 can be charged with an OWI if any amount of alcohol is detected in their system.
Every OWI conviction after the first offense will have more severe penalties, which may include losing your license. In Wisconsin, a first, second and third OWI are considered misdemeanors, but any other subsequent offense is a felony (fourth, fifth, sixth and so on). However, a vehicular homicide is a felony even if it is a first OWI offense.
Penalties For DWI Offenses
The following are some of the penalties for OWI offenses:
- 1st OWI Wisconsin – For a first offense, you pay $150-$300 fine but there is no prison time
- For a second offense, you pay $350-$1,100 fine and 5 days to 6 months jail time
- A third offense leads to a $600-$2,000 fine and 45 days to one year jail time
- A fourth Offense leads to a $600-$10,000 fine and 60 days to one year jail time
For most of these offenses your license will be suspended or revoked, and you may be forced to install an ignition interlock device in your car.
Laws For People With Commercial Driver’s Licenses
The DWI laws for people that drive for a living are stricter than for other drivers. Drivers with a CDL are not allowed to operate their vehicles with a BAC of .04% or more. A commercial driver’s license can be can be revoked for year for a first OWI conviction, and for life for a second OWI conviction. That means they lose both their source of income and their freedom of movement if they commit a second offense. License suspension is automatic for commercial drivers found driving while intoxicated and those that refuse to take breathalyzer test.
You can appeal your administrative license suspension but you are only likely to succeed with that if you have an experienced OWI lawyer by your side. Fines of $150-$300 are issued for a first offense for drivers with a CDL, but it can increase to $1,000 for a second offense. Drivers transporting hazardous materials will receive a higher fine even if it is their first offense.