Learn More About DWIs

Wisconsin DUI & OWI Laws

Jun 30, 2016


In Wisconsin, a drunk driving arrest is classified by a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .08% or greater and is referred to as a DUI (driving under the influence) or a OWI (operating while impaired). These arrests are taken very seriously in the state of Wisconsin and violators will suffer harsh fines, penalties and punishments.

Legal limit in Wisconsin:

  • Standard, non-commercial drivers: .08% BAC
  • Commercial drivers: .04% BAC
  • Drivers under 21: .02% BAC

Penalties, Fines, & Suspension

Wisconsin DUI & OWI Penalties, Fines, & Suspension
Penalty 1st offense 2nd offense 3rd offense
Sentence N/A 5 days to 6 months 30 days to 1 year
Fine $150 to $300 $300 to $1,100 $600 to $2,000
Driver’s License Suspension 6 to 9 months 12 to 18 months 2 to 3 years

Chemical Test Refusal

Wisconsin is an implied consent state meaning if you are arrested for a DUI with probable cause, you must agree to take a chemical test. In Wisconsin you may also be required to take a chemical test if you are in a vehicle that you have the ability to operate while intoxicated, even if you are not driving (OWI). If you refuse these tests you will be subject to a license revocation as well as be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.

1st offense: License revocation for 1 year
2nd offense: License revocation for 2 years
3rd offense: License revocation for 3 years

Ignition Interlock

An ignition interlock device (IID) will be required in various drinking a driving cases in Wisconsin including all repeat DUI cases as well as cases where a person’s BAC is .15% or above or drivers who refuse a chemical test. If you have been convicted of a DUI in a circumstance where a IID is required, you must install the device to the ignition to your car to be able to drive.

Criminal Record

A DUI will remain on a person’s record for 10 years in the state of Wisconsin. The court could and most likely will use this against you if a second offense occurs during this time period.

Under 21

Wisconsin is considered a zero-tolerance state when it comes to underage drinking and driving. If a minor is pulled over with a BAC above .0%, the driver could be subject to a DUI. Penalties include possible imprisonment for any amount of time as determined by the court, a fine ranging from $300 to $1,500 and a license suspension for 6 to 9 months. These punishments will increase with each conviction.

DWI with a Child Passenger

If a person is convicted of a OWI with a minor passenger under the age of 16 in the vehicle, the driver will be charged with a misdemeanor as well as a $350 to $1,100 fine and a sentence of 5 days to 6 months. These penalties will increase if the minor is injured.

More on WI DUI Laws:

State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation: Drunk Driving:

Center for Disease Control: Wisconsin Drunk Driving Fact Sheet:

Posted in:
Updated: July 8, 2016 at 5:04 pm