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Wisconsin DUI Law

Of the 785 traffic fatalities on Wisconsin highways in 2004, 296 of them involved a driver who had a Blood Alcohol Concentration over the legal limit.  198 of the deaths involved a driver whose Blood Alcohol Concentration was more than twice the legal limit.

Wisconsin makes it illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol to a degree which renders you incapable of safely driving.  In addition to this subjective standard, if you have a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .08 or greater, you are guilty of Operating While Intoxicated.

Penalties

First Offense:  $150 - $300 fine.  Your license will be revoked for 6 – 9 months.

Second Offense:  $350 - $1,000 fine and a jail term of between 5 days and six months.  Your license will be revoked for 12 – 18 months.

Third Offense:  $600 - $2,000 fine and a jail term of between 30 days and one year.  Your license will be revoked for 2 – 3 years.

Fourth Offense:  $600 - $2,000 fine and a jail term of between 60 days and one year.  Your license will be revoked for 2 – 3 years.

Fifth Offense:  $600 - $2,000 fine and between 60 days and 5 years in jail.  Your license will be revoked for 2 – 3 years.

Additional Penalties

Minor Passenger:  If you are operating a vehicle while intoxicated and have a minor passenger (under the age of 16), the minimum and maximum fine and jail time doubles.  (i.e. for the second offense, the penalty would be $700 - $2,000 in fines and 10 days to 12 months in jail).

High Blood Alcohol Concentrations:

BAC between .17 and .199 = minimum and maximum fines double.

BAC between .2 and .249 = minimum and maximum fines triple.

BAC of greater than .25 = minimum and maximum fines quadruple.

Community Service:  At the court’s discretion, a term of community service may be added to any sentence.  If the offender had a minor passenger in the car, the community service must be performed around children.

The court may also order an offender to visit somewhere that demonstrates the adverse effects of alcohol.  The statute recommends treatment facilities or the emergency room.  The court will not impose this sanction on an unwilling person.

Vehicle Immobilization:  For the second and subsequent offense, the vehicle will be immobilized for a minimum of one year.  This only applies if the offender was the sole owner/operator of the vehicle.

Commercial Drivers

The legal limit for commercial drivers is a blood alcohol concentration of .04 or greater.

Penalties for Commercial Drivers

First Offense:  $150 - $300 fine.

Second Offense:  $350 - $1,000 fine and a jail term of between 5 days and six months.

Third Offense:  $600 - $2,000 fine and a jail term of between 30 days and one year.

Implied Consent:  By driving on Wisconsin roads, you have given your implied consent to be chemically tested for alcohol levels.  However, you reserve the right to refuse the test.  Refusal to submit to the test results in a one year license suspension.