Wisconsin Drunk Driving Laws

When is a Driver Considered to be Legally Drunk in Wisconsin?

  • Non-commercial drivers age 21+ are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .08 or more.
  • Drivers of commercial vehicles are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .04 percent or greater.
  • Drivers under 21 are not permitted to operate a vehicle with an alcohol concentration above zero.

Penalties for Drunk Driving in Wisconsin Outside of Winnebago County

  • Penalties for drunk driving in Winnebago County may be different than the penalties listed below.
  • A first-time offender is subject to pay a fine of $150 to $300. Generally, the driver’s license suspension period is six to nine months.
  • A person who commits a second DUI within 10 years faces five days to six months imprisonment and a fine of $350 to $1,100. Generally, the driver’s license suspension period is one year to 18 months.
  • A person who commits a third DUI faces up to 30 days to one year in a county jail and a fine of $600 to $2,000. Generally, the driver’s license suspension period is two to three years.
  • A person who commits a fourth DUI faces 60 days to one year in a county jail and a fine of $600 to $2,000. Generally, the driver’s license suspension period is two to three years.
  • A person who commits a fifth or subsequent DUI faces six months to six years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Generally, the driver’s license suspension period is two to three years.

Enhanced Penalty for DUI While Passenger Under 16 is in the Vehicle

A person who commits a first-offense DUI while a passenger under 16 is in the vehicle faces subject to five days to six months in prison and a fine of $350 to $1,000. Subsequent offenses are subject to double penalties.

Double Penalties for Drunk Driving with a BAC of .17 to .199

A person who commits a third or subsequent DUI with a BAC of .17 to .199 is subject to double penalties. For example, a second-time DUI offender is subject to five days to six months in prison and a fine of $350 to $1,000. If, however, the offender had a BAC of .17 to .199, he or she is subject to 10 days to 12 months in prison and a fine of $700 to $2,000.

Triple Penalties for Drunk Driving with a BAC of .20 to .249

A person who commits a third or subsequent DUI with a BAC of .20 to .249 is subject to triple penalties. For example, a second-time DUI offender is subject to five days to six months in prison and a fine of $350 to $1,000. If, however, the offender had a BAC of .20 to .249, he or she is subject to 15 days to 18 months in prison and a fine of $1,050 to $3,000.

Quadruple Penalties for Drunk Driving with a BAC of .25 or Above

A person who commits a third or subsequent DUI with a BAC of .25 or above is subject to quadruple penalties. For example, a second-time DUI offender is subject to five days to six months in prison and a fine of $350 to $1,000. If, however, the offender had a BAC of .25 or above, he or she is subject to 20 days to 24 months in prison and a fine of $1,400 to $4,000.

Ignition Interlock

A person who commits a DUI and has one or more prior convictions within a five-year period, or had a BAC of .15 at the time of the offense, will be restricted to operating vehicles that are equipped with an ignition interlock device for a period of not less than one year nor more than the maximum driver’s license revocation period permitted for the violation beginning one year after the driver’s license revocation period begins. A judge may order a first or second-time offender to use an ignition interlock device for a period of not less than one year nor more than the maximum operating privilege revocation permitted for the violation.

Commercial Drivers

In addition to other penalties that may apply under Wisconsin’s DUI laws, a commercial driver who commits a first DUI while driving any vehicle will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for one year. If, however, the driver was transporting hazardous materials at the time, the disqualification period is three years. A commercial driver who commits a second DUI while driving any vehicle will have his or her commercial license revoked for life, which may or may not be reduced to a period of not less than 10 years.

Drivers Under 21

A person under 21 commits underage DUI if he or she drives with a BAC above zero but not more than .08. One penalty for violation of this law is suspension of the minor’s driving privileges. For a first offense, the minor is subject to a 90-day suspension. He or she may apply for an occupational license, which permits limited driving with an ignition interlock device.

What is Wisconsin’s “Civil Liability Exemption” Statute?

Generally, those who sell or furnish alcohol to others are not liable for injuries caused by intoxication. This law, however, carves out an exception. Under Wisconsin’s Civil Liability Exemption statute, any person who provides alcohol to a minor, including a licensed drinking establishment, can be liable for third-party injuries if the person knew or should have known that the underage person was not 21 and the illegal provision of alcohol to the underage person was a substantial factor in causing injury to the third party.

Criminal Liability for Selling or Furnishing Alcohol to Minors and Permitting Minors to Drink Alcohol

In Wisconsin, it is a crime to sell or give alcohol to a person under 21. It is also a crime for an adult to permit or fail to take action to prevent a minor from drinking alcohol on the adult’s premises. A first-time offender is subject to a fine of up to $500. For a second violation within 30 months, the offender faces up to 30 days in imprisonment, a fine of up to $500, or both. For a third offense within 30 months, the offender faces up to 90 days imprisonment, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. For a fourth or subsequent violation within 30 months, the offender faces up to nine months imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. If the violation is committed by a licensed drinking establishment, the establishment also faces suspension of its liquor license.

Criminal Liability for Selling or Furnishing Alcohol to an Intoxicated Person

In Wisconsin, it is a crime to sell or furnish alcohol to an intoxicated person. A violation of this law subjects the offender to up to 60 days imprisonment, a fine of $100 to $500, or both.

Need more information on state laws? Learn more about the laws where you live.

Note: Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia. This information is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia, although if you are injured in an accident, we have relationships with other personal injury attorneys and lawyers throughout the United States.

Free Case Review
First Name
Last Name
ZIP
Phone
Email
Briefly describe your injuries