Drunk Driving Laws and Penalties in Wisconsin

Wisconsin state law determines drunk driving for people who’s blood alcohol level is 0.08 or above. A zero tolerance policy is in effect for all drinkers under the age of 21 at a level of 0.02. This classifies the driver as legally drunk, and penalties can range from fines, prison, and long-term sentences depending on the level and type of offense. For a first offense, the suspension of the person’s license can be 6 months long, but may be restored with classes, judge-enforced counseling, or a judgment that honors a hardship. The open container law is applicable to both drivers and passengers, and no open containers of alcohol are permitted in a moving vehicle. A multiple offender’s vehicle may be seized immediately, and even disposed.

Generally speaking, national laws attempt to reduce or eliminate alcohol-impaired driving by enforcing the high risk of arrest and punishment of drivers. Still, those who continue to drive while intoxicated not only risk an accident or a dangerous hazard to drivers and pedestrians, they can easily lose their driving privileges. The severity of the punishment depends on the offense, and some states are more ‘flexible’ than others. Wisconsin officers are especially cautious in the city of Madison where both college students and underage drinkers abound; Milwaukee, and other metropolitan districts, as well as suburban and rural areas where the danger of car-related accidents is still fairly high. Traffic ticket citations will be costly; these can range from $200-$500+, and cause a severe increase in your insurance costs over the long term. You may also have to pay additional fines or court costs if you are involved in an accident-related court case or judgment.

DUI (driving under the influence) is applicable to all drivers who may be impaired by the use of alcohol or drugs. This can be easily spotted by law enforcement by a driver’s behavior, control of their vehicle, or a related accident. DWI (driving while intoxicated) is applicable to all drivers who may be impaired by the use of alcohol, and will likely be subjected to a blood alcohol test through the use of a Breathalyzer. Field sobriety tests can be requested by an officer to check a person’s ability to perform physical and cognitive tasks. If a person is suspected of DUI, the officer can then take the steps for conviction or arrest. An Implied Consent law is also in effect in Wisconsin, and requires that the driver submit to any chemical test by the officer if requested; if they refuse, the penalty can be a license suspension for six months.

Thousands of people are killed or injured each year from alcohol-related accidents and occurrences. It is important to not only be safe, but also enforce the law to those who continue to break it. In Wisconsin, the penalties can be very serious in the long-term; if you are facing prosecution or conviction that you are not guilty of, there are many local lawyers available. However, if you are guilty, learn your lessons and become a safe driver for life!

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