wisconsin drunk driving laws
OWI drunk driving laws
Drunk driving charges are often referred to by several names: an OWI for operating while intoxicated, or operating while under the influence, as well as a DUI for driving under the influence, or even DWI for driving while intoxicated. Wisconsin statutory law calls it "operating under the influence of an intoxicant or other drug" and the courts abbreviate it with OWI and the offense number (OWI-1st offense).
what does wisconsin law prohibit?
Wisconsin law prohibits:
- a motorized vehicle
- while under the influence, or
- while impaired, or
- with a detectable blood alcohol concentration level at or above the legal limit.
operating any vehicle
A person is considered to be "operating" a motor vehicle if he or she:
- is driving the motorized vehicle, or
- has the vehicle under his or her control.
"Under his or her control" is broadly defined to include vehicles that are parked and running, vehicles that are parked and not running with the keys in the ignition, and may include vehicles that are not running with the driver in the driver's seat if the keys are available. In other words, if the driver could have driven the vehicle, it is under his or her control.
a motorized vehicle
For statutory purposes, “Motor vehicle” means a vehicle, including a combination
of 2 or more vehicles or an articulated vehicle, which is self−propelled, except a vehicle operated exclusively on a rail. “Motor
vehicle” includes, without limitation, a commercial motor vehicle
or a vehicle which is propelled by electric power obtained from
overhead trolley wires but not operated on rails. A snowmobile
and an all−terrain vehicle shall only be considered motor vehicles
for purposes made specifically applicable by statute.
while under the influence
Under the influence means:
- has a detectable blood alcohol concentration level (referred to as BAC level) in excess of the legal limit (drunk), or
- has a detectable amount of alcohol, over-the-counter medication or prescription drug in the blood sufficient to impair driving, or
- has any detectable amount of any controlled substance or controlled substance analog, or
- is impaired and unable to safely drive.
Wisconsin law does not just prohibit driving while drunk, but rather prohibits driving while impaired. Consequently, people can be arrested for driving without even a trace of alcohol in their blood. A prescription medication or even an over-the-counter drug can cause impairment, as well as numerous other factors.
For statutory purposes, a person is considered to be intoxicated (drunk) if their blood alcohol concentration level is at .08 or higher, unless they were previously charged and convicted of three drunk driving offenses in this state in which case the legal blood alcohol limit is .02; however, prosecutors often count prior convictions from other states. [see Challenging Prior Convictions and Counting Prior Drunk Driving Convictions] Additionally, police can arrest a person with a lower blood alcohol concentration level than the statutory limit.
owi-dui.com can help
As the attorney outlines above, Wisconsin law doesn't just prohibit driving while drunk; it prohibits driving when you cannot drive safely. After a recent survey released by the federal government identifying Wisconsin as the worse state for drunk driving, police are cracking down on driving while under the influence of any intoxicant. A new Wisconsin advertisement states, "Drive Drunk. Get Arrested."
If you have been arrested for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence, having a prohibited alcohol concentratoin level, or reckless driving, please contact one of Wisconsin's Best DUI Defense attorneys as soon as possible. Time is limited to act to save your driver's license and prepare for court.
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