Avoiding a conviction for operating while intoxicated (OWI) in Wisconsin requires drivers understand the state's drunk driving laws.
Just as many motorists don't realize a typical drunk driving arrest results in at least two different charges––OWI and PAC––many others don't realize there are different legal limits.
Most drivers assume the .08 legal limit applies to everyone in Wisconsin, but depending on your age, type of drivers license, and prior OWI convictions, you may face a much lower BAC limit.
Lower BAC Limit for 3 Previous OWI Convictions
If you have been convicted of OWI on 3 prior occasions, you likely now face a substantially lower allowed blood alcohol concentration level when driving in the state of Wisconsin.
"What many people know is that in Wisconsin, for purposes of our legal limit for operating while intoxicated or OWI offenses, is that that limit is .08. What many people don't realize is that if you have 3 or more prior convictions for OWI, that legal limit drops from .08 to the very low limit of .02. That's why it's extremely important if you're facing a situation like this that you contact an attorney who has many years of experience and a successful track record in defending these types of cases."
-Wisconsin OWI Attorney Pat Stangl
Most Wisconsin drivers with three prior OWI convictions must not exceed a blood alcohol level of .02 when operating a motor vehicle in Wisconsin. This lower legal limit for repeat OWI offenders is a standard most Wisconsin motorists are not aware of.
It's important to be aware of this lower threshold before driving, so you don't inadvertently exceed your legal limit. Keep in mind, it can be difficult to gauge your level of sobriety while consuming alcohol.
If you're facing OWI charges in Wisconsin, such as a 5th OWI or 6th OWI, 7th OWI, 8th OWI or 9th OWI or even a 10th OWI or subsequent charge, contact an experienced Wisconsin DUI attorney right away to start exploring your options.
Lower BAC Expected for Commercial Drivers in Wisconsin
If you have a commercial driver's license or CDL in Wisconsin, it is expected you will not drink and drive as a condition of your professional license. In other words, you are expected to maintain a blood alcohol concentration of 0.0%.
Penalties for CDL drivers testing at .04% BAC face even greater penalties under Wisconsin law.
Unlike most motorists who are not legally required to take field sobriety tests, CDL drivers in Wisconsin are required by law to submit to sobriety tests requested by law enforcement.
Read on: Wisconsin Drunk Driving Laws and CDL
Legal Limit for Wisconsin Underage Drivers
The legal limit for drivers under the age of 21 years in Wisconsin is 0.0%. Even though the state of Wisconsin does allow minors to consume alcohol under some restricted circumstances, they are not allowed to operate a motor vehicle after drinking.
- What to Do if Your Teen is Arrested for OWI in Wisconsin
- 5 Ways You Might Incur Extra Penalties for OWI-Related Incidents
- Defending a Wisconsin OWI Case: You Have Options
Free Wisconsin OWI Defense Consultation
Nationally-recognized OWI Defense Attorney Patrick J. Stangl has over 25 years of experience protecting the rights of clients accused of OWI across Wisconsin.
If you're facing OWI charges in Wisconsin, including drug charges or repeat OWI charges, click below to request a FREE 15-minute consultation to discuss your drunk driving or driving under the influence case and help explore options for your defense.
Two OWI Defense Success Stories
State of Wisconsin v. R.T.
The client was charged with an OWI 5th offense, a felony, with a high alcohol concentration. He had a number of prior convictions from Minnesota, where he did not have a lawyer. If convicted he would likely have received a prison sentence.
As a result of a very thorough factual and legal investigation, Attorney Stangl was able to establish that in four of the prior convictions his client was not properly advised of his right to appointed counsel and how an attorney may have been able to assist him in those cases, thus establishing that the prior convictions violated his client's constitutional rights under the Sixth Amendment. The State conceded that four of the prior criminal OWI convictions could not be counted against Attorney Stangl's client and the case was amended from a criminal conviction OWI 5th offense to an OWI 1st offense, a non-criminal ordinance violation, thus saving his client from a lengthy jail or prison sentence and another OWI conviction.
Victory - OWI Accident in Madison, Wisconsin
Attorney Stangl represented a client who had a vehicle accident in the City of Madison and registered a breath alcohol concentration of .14. Luckily no one was hurt but his client was subsequently charged with what is commonly called “drunk driving” but technically an OWI/PAC as a first offense in the State of Wisconsin, §346.63 (1) (a) and §346.63 (1) (b) Wis. Stats. It appeared the City had a strong case and his client was willing to put the matter behind him, however Attorney Stangl continued to research and investigate the matter. Ultimately he was able to discover that the arresting officer failed to comply with certain technical requirements of the law regarding the reading of the Informing the Accused which are rights that a suspected drunk driver must be informed of prior to the submission of any chemical test of their blood, breath or urine. Ultimately the case was successfully resolved and the OWI was amended to reckless driving and the PAC (above the legal limit charge) was dismissed.
FREE 15-Minute Consultation
Wisconsin Criminal Defense Attorney Pat Stangl has been successfully defending clients against OWI, DUI, BAC, PAC and other intoxicated and drunk driving charges since 1991. If you are facing OWI charges in Wisconsin, Attorney Stangl will provide for you at no obligation, a FREE 15-minute consultation to discuss the charges you're facing and explore your options for defense. Simply click the link below to get started today.