Call Today (608) 230-2413
N.P. Wyosnick Legal, LLC
Defending Criminal, DUI, and traffic offenses in Wisconsin and Illinois

Wisconsin DUI Laws

Being charged with a DUI in Wisconsin can be an overwhelming experience. Known as an OWI in Wisconsin, but commonly referred to as DUI, a Wisconsin DUI can result in serious consequences, depending on a person's driving history. A Wisconsin DUI can result in a suspension and/or revocation of driving privileges, extremely high fines, jail, and imprisonment.

Attorney Nils Wyosnick has been practicing DUI law as a defense attorney and a prosecutor since 2009. He has defended clients against DUI charges throughout Wisconsin and Illinois. He has represented clients facing their first DUI, CDL drivers charged with DUI, and clients charged with DUI involving death or serious injury.

With a wealth of experience in DUI defense, Nils understands the complexities of DUI cases, but more importantly Nils appreciates the concerns that his clients have when charged with a DUI. Nils understands that each of his clients is impacted by DUI charges is different ways. Therefore, Nils defends every client based on the nature of their case and the nature of how a DUI impacts their individual lives.

For a free consultation on your case, please call (608) 772-4649. The information contained here or anywhere on this site is not to be considered legal advice and is strictly for information purposes. Every law impacts individuals differently, depending on an individual's background.

WISCONSIN DUI EXPLAINED:

A DUI in Wisconsin is known as an OWI (operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated). Wisconsin DUI law establishes many different situations in which a person could be charged with a DUI. In general, Wisconsin makes it illegal to drive while under the influence of an intoxicant (including alcohol) to the degree that the driver is incapable of driving safely.

It is also illegal in Wisconsin to drive with a BAC or .08 or more (BAC of 0.0 for under 21 years old). Wisconsin also prohibits operating a commercial motor vehicle with a BAC of .04 or higher.

Furthermore, it is illegal to drive with a detectable amount of a restricted controlled substance in the driver's blood. It is also illegal to drive with any detectable amount of Delta-9-THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, aka marijuana.

OWI and Alcohol: drivers can be charged with OWI related to alcohol in two ways:

  • 346.63(1)(a) - Driving while under the influence of alcohol to the degree that the driver cannot safely control their vehicle; and/or
  • 346.63(1)(b) - Driving with a prohibited alcohol concentration (PAC) (aka BAC) of .08 or more for drivers 21 years of age or older; .04 for commercial vehicle drivers; and absolute sobriety for drivers under the age of 21.

Under the Influence of Alcohol: Wisconsin police do not need to know what a person's breath or blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is, in order to charge a driver with DUI. Rather, police can a driver with DUI if the drivers displays signs that they are impaired by alcohol to a degree that the driver cannot safely operate the vehicle. To determine whether a driver is under the influence of alcohol/impaired, police rely on their training, professional and personal experiences, and Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (FTS's). If police form the opinion that a driver has displayed enough clues of alcohol impairment, police can charge drivers with a OWI under Wisconsin Statute 346.63(1)(a).

OWI and BAC Legal Limit: Wisconsin, like most states, makes it illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a breath or blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. Wisconsin calls this a "prohibited alcohol concentration" - "PAC" for short. Other states may refer to this as a breath/blood alcohol concentration - "BAC" for short. While a .08 PAC is the legal limit for most drivers, lower BAC limits exist in Wisconsin for (1) drivers of commercial motor vehicles; (2) drivers under the age of 21 years old; and (3) drivers with prior DUI convictions.

OWI and Under 21 years old: Drivers under the age of 21 years old are required to maintain absolute sobriety while driving in the State of Wisconsin. Absolute sobriety is commonly referred to as "zero tolerance" for alcohol (and drugs); meaning that a driver under 21 must have a BAC of 0.0 when driving a vehicle. The penalty for a zero-tolerance violation can be a suspension or revocation of driving privileges, depending on the circumstances.

OWI and Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDL's): Wisconsin has two important laws governing operating commercial vehicles and intoxicants. Wisconsin Statute 343.63(5) indicates that "no person may drive or operate a commcercial vehicle while the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more but less than 0.08." However, Wisconsin Statute 346.65(2u) makes it illegal to operate a commercial vehicle with any alcohol concentration.

BAC and Prior OWI Convictions: Drivers with 3 or more OWI/DUI convictions are prohibited from driving with a PAC level of .02 or higher.

Wisconsin DUI and Drugs

Similar to alcohol, Wisconsin prohibits driving under the influence of drugs and driving with any detectable amount of a controlled substance in a driver's system. Even if validly prescribed a medication, it is illegal to drive if that medication is a controlled substance and it has impaired the person to the point that they cannot safely operate a motor vehicle.

Furthermore, Wisconsin prohibits driving with any amount of a restricted controlled substance in a person's system, so long as the person does not possess a valid prescription to use that substance. If a person drives with a controlled substance in their system, and does not possess a valid prescription, Wisconsin will consider the person guilty of OWI, regardless of whether they are impaired or not by the drug. Examples of drugs that are restricted controlled substances include: cocaine, methamphetamine, prescription pain killers, Benzodiazepines, etc.

Wisconsin OWI: Suspension and Revocation of Driving Privileges

A Wisconsin OWI can result in a suspension and/or revocation of driving privileges. Whether a suspension or revocation is issued depends on the circumstances, as does the length of a suspension or revocation.

OWI Suspension: Wisconsin imposes an implied consent law on anyone who drives upon Wisconsin roadways. The law indicates that any motorist suspected of driving while under the influence of intoxicants impliedly consents to chemical testing, at the lawful request of law enforcement. Typically, most drivers who agree to chemical tests that yield a PAC of .08 or higher will result in a 6-month suspension of driving privileges. The same goes for agreeing to chemical testing that reveals a controlled substance in a person's blood. However, the length of the suspension depends on a person's driving history, age, the circumstances of the offense, and the type of license they possess. Refusing a lawfully requested chemical test will result in a revocation driving privileges (See Below).

OWI Revocation: Wisconsin will revoke the driving privileges of any driver who refuses a lawfully requested chemical test. Also, Wisconsin will revoke the driving privileges of anyone who is convicted of an OWI offense. The length of the revocation will depend on a person's driving history, age, the circumstances of the offense, and the type of license they possess. For the driver considered a first-time offender, refusing a chemical test will result in a 1-year revocation, along with other penalties.

Suspension and Revocation from OWI's:

Administrative Suspension following Arrest:

  • Consenting to Chemical test that yields a .08 or greater blood or breath alcohol content results in an automatic license suspension within 30 days after police give notice of intent to suspend to the driver.
    • Length of Suspension: 6 months.
    • Eligible for occupational license immediately.
  • Refusal of Chemical Test: refusing a chemical test following an OWI arrest will result in a revocation of driving privileges. The length of the revocation depends on a person's OWI history:
    • First offense:
      • One-year revocation
      • 30-day wait for occupational license.
      • Required to install Ignition Interlock Device
    • Second offense without prior OWI within 10 years:
      • One-year revocation
      • Ignition Interlock Device required.
    • Second offense with prior OWI within 10 years:
      • Two-year revocation
      • 90 day wait for occupational license
      • 12 month wait for occupational license if 2 or more offenses within 5 years.
      • Ignition Interlock Device required.
    • Third offense or greater:
      • 3 year revocation.
      • 120 day wait for occupational license
      • 12 month wait if 2 or more OWI's in 5 years.
      • Ignition Interlock Device required.
  • OWI Conviction Revocation: if convicted of an OWI, Wisconsin will impose a license revocation for the following length:
    • 1st OWI (civil) = 6-9 month revocation;
    • 2nd OWI (misdemeanor) = 12-18 month revocation;
    • 3rd OWI (misdemeanor) = 2-3 year revocation;
    • 4th OWI (Class H felony) = 2-3 year revocation;
    • 5th OWI (Class G felony) = 2-3 year revocation;
    • 6th OWI (Class G felony) = 2-3 year revocation;
    • 7th , 8th or 9th OWI (Class F felony) = 2-3 year revocation;
    • 10th or greater (Class E felony) = 2-3 year revocation.

Avvo - Rate your Lawyer. Get Free Legal Advice.

Nils P. Wyosnick Reviews out of 24 reviews

Nils P. Wyosnic Clients’ Choice Award 2017

9.5 Nils P. Wyosnick

Contact The Firm

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy