A Guide to Wisconsin's Operating with a Prohibited Alcohol Concentration (PAC) Law

Posted by Attorney Stangl on August 7, 2019


In Wisconsin, you might be surprised to learn that a  drunk driving arrest usually results in at least two criminal charges: Operating while under the influence of an intoxicant (OWI), and Prohibited Alcohol Concentration (PAC).

Many of us are familiar with OWI (also called DUI or DWI in other states), but far fewer of us know about PAC charges.

Read on for a brief guide to both of these charges and what to do should you find yourself facing them in Wisconsin.

Read Also: Checklist: What to Do if You're Pulled Over for OWI in Wisconsin

Charge 1: OWI (Operating Under Influence of Intoxicant or Other Drug in Wisconsin)

OWI is commonly associated with drunk driving or driving under the influence of alcohol in Wisconsin. While OWI does indeed stand for "operating while intoxicated," OWI charges can apply to driving under the influence of other intoxicants such as drugs, including:

  • Prescription painkillers
  • Other opioids, including heroin
  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine (meth)

If you are pulled over in Wisconsin for suspicion of OWI due to drugs or alcohol, keep in mind you have the right to refuse field sobriety testing (unless you have a CDL), which may help the ultimate outcome of your case.


"Many people in Wisconsin, if they're pulled over for suspicion of operating under the influence of an intoxicant, don't realize that they are not legally required to perform field sobriety tests."  Attorney Pat Stangl

To learn more about OWI in Wisconsin, specifically, read the following articles below.


Charge 2: PAC (Operating with a Prohibited Alcohol Concentration in Wisconsin)

The best way to understand this lesser-known offense is to take a closer look at Wisconsin PAC laws.

Under Wisconsin Statute 346.63(1)(b):

"No person may drive or operate a motor vehicle while:...The person has a prohibited alcohol concentration."

What is PAC (prohibited alcohol concentration) in Wisconsin? 

Your blood alcohol limit depends on whether or not you have been previously charged with OWI in Wisconsin and how many times. A Blood Alcohol Concentration or BAC of 0.08% or above is considered a prohibited alcohol concentration in Wisconsin for:

  • First offense OWI
  • Second offense OWI
  • Third offense OWI

If you are facing a 4th OWI or greater charge due to previous OWI convictions, your prohibited alcohol concentration or PAC begins at the much lower level of 0.02% for the following:

If you're facing your 11th OWI offense or any subsequent offenses (12th OWI, 13th OWI in Wisconsin, etc.), your PAC will also begin at a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02% under drunk driving laws in Wisconsin.

If you have been charged with OWI and/or PAC in Madison or elsewhere in Wisconsin, contact an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney right away.

How to Defend Against a PAC Charge in Wisconsin

Before spending too much time researching defenses against a PAC charge in Wisconsin, you should contact an experienced OWI attorney with a proven record of success defending clients against charges of OWI, DUI, DWI, BAC and PAC.

If you have been arrested for PAC, OWI or other charges related to driving under the influence in Wisconsin, it is crucial you consult an aggressive OWI defense attorney as soon as you are able.

FREE 15-Minute Consultation

Madison OWI Attorney Pat Stangl has been fighting to defend clients against OWI, PAC, BAC, DUI, DWI and other drunk driving-related charges in Wisconsin for over 25 years.

Attorney Stangl is pleased to offer (at no obligation) a FREE 15-minute consultation to discuss the charges you're facing and explore your options as you prepare to fight OWI and PAC charges.

Take the first step in defending yourself against PAC charges in Wisconsin; request a FREE 15-minute consultation right away.

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Topics: Drunk Driving Charges (OWI)



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