Drinking and driving is a serious problem because it is fully preventable if drivers don't get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol. With the impacts of this issue in mind, state legislators came up with some very strict penalties for drunk driving.
It is imperative that all drivers take the responsible path and find another way home after drinking. If this doesn't happen, you might find yourself facing criminal charges. Here are some points to know about drunk driving in Wisconsin:
Blood alcohol concentration
There are a few different factors that determine the legal limit of blood alcohol concentration for drivers. If a driver is under the legal drinking age, 21 years old, there can't be any traceable alcohol in the blood. People who are 21 and aren't commercial operators have a legal limit of .08 percent. If the person is a commercial operator, the limit is .04 percent. A person who has three or more operating while intoxicated convictions has a BAC limit of .02 percent.
There are other criminal aspects of these charges that depend on BAC. If a person's BAC is at or above .15 percent, an ignition interlock device is required by law if the person is going to be able to legally drive. All second and subsequent convictions also require the use of the ignition interlock.
A BAC of .17 percent or higher means that you face higher penalties. This is also true if you have a vehicle occupant who is younger 16 years old or if you have prior convictions for OWI.
Refusing chemical testing
The implied consent law is something that you agree to when you get your driver's license. This law means that you agree to submit to a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol concentration when you are asked to do so by a police officer. If you refuse to submit to this testing, your vehicle can be impounded. You also face the loss of your license for a year.
It is certainly your right to refuse this test. You need to make sure that you have considered the penalties for refusal before you make that choice.
In all drunk driving cases, you have the right to present a defense against the charges. This is your opportunity to tell your side of the story in an effort to either be found not guilty or to minimize the penalties that come after a conviction. Understand how all of this can impact your life and how your options differ before you decide on a course of action.