Answers to common questions about OWI in Wisconsin

by | Mar 24, 2021 | Criminal Defense, Drunk Driving |

Have you ever wondered what it takes to get over the legal limit for driving with alcohol in your system in Wisconsin? Maybe you need to know what the punishment for a first offense can be.

Whether you are just curious or you are facing an OWI charge, here are some answers to some of the most commonly-asked questions about the drinking and driving laws in Wisconsin.

What is the legal limit for blood-alcohol level?

The standard BAL limit is .08 percent. If the police measure your BAL at that level or above, you are considered to be “per se” driving while intoxicated. However, you can still be charged with OWI if the police claim that you failed the field sobriety tests despite being under the legal limit.

Also, if you are under 21, the limit is .02 percent, and you can get an Absolute Sobriety ticket if the police say you were driving with any alcohol in your system.

How many drinks does it take to get to the limit?

It largely depends on how much you weigh. A 140 pound person would need to have about four drinks in an hour to become legally intoxicated. A drink would be a 12 oz. beer, five ounces of wine or a shot of liquor. Someone who weighs about 180 lbs. would need about five drinks in an hour to reach the same level of impairment.

Can I go to jail for a first offense?

No, the penalties for a first standard OWI offense do not include a jail sentence. But if convicted, the judge will fine you $150-$300 and revoke your driver’s license for six to nine months. If you have a prior OWI conviction, you could go to jail for between five days and six months.


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