No one expects a pilot to be mixing Old Fashioneds in the air, but it is important to be aware of Wisconsin's law surrounding the operation of an aircraft, including the legal limit in such situations and possible penalties.
This article will explain the criminal offense of intoxicated flying and offer tips on what to do if you or a loved one finds themselves facing this charge in Wisconsin.
Intoxicated Flying in Wisconsin
Flying a plane or other aircraft is a crime in Wisconsin if your blood alcohol content is above the legal limit.
This criminal offense is clearly defined under Wisconsin State Statute 114.09(1):
1. No person may operate an aircraft in the air or on the ground or water while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or controlled substances or controlled substance analogs under ch. 961 or a combination thereof, under the influence of any other drug to a degree which renders him or her incapable of safely operating an aircraft, or under the combined influence of intoxicating liquor and any other drug to a degree which renders him or her incapable of safely operating an aircraft.
It might surprise you to learn the operation of the aircraft is not limited to the air. "Flying" includes operation of the plane on land and water as well.
What is the Legal Limit When Flying a Plane in Wisconsin?
Penalties for Flying Under the Influence in Wisconsin
If you are found guilty of intoxicated flying due to alcohol consumption or drug use, you face a range of consequences, depending on the details of your case.
To begin with, you would be charged a fine to correlate with the severity of the offense. Generally, minimum and maximum fines range from $150 to $2,000 depending on the circumstances and increase depending on your blood alcohol concentration:
- 0.17 to 0.199 fines are doubled
- 0.20 to 0.249 fines are tripled
- 0.25 or above fines are quadrupled
Penalties can also include jail time ranging from 5 days to a year, and even prison time, depending on the circumstances of your case.
It's important to be aware that penalties, including fines and imprisonment, double if you are found guilty of intoxicated flying with a minor passenger under the age of 16 in Wisconsin. Should you end up facing repeat charges, be cautioned as you may wind up facing a felony charge of intoxicated flying in Wisconsin.
To learn more about what specific penalties you risk facing in your case, contact a skilled Wisconsin criminal defense attorney right away.