Can I Be Charged with a Wisconsin OWI if My BAC Is Below .08?

You may not realize that you can be charged with Wisconsin OWI, or operating while under the influence, even if your blood alcohol content registers less than 0.08%. That’s because Wisconsin’s OWI law doesn’t require that you be above a specific BAC. Instead, it states that it’s illegal to drive when “incapable of safely driving” due to being under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination thereof.

Impairment Tests

If police officers have reason to suspect that you are driving while under the influence, they can ask you to participate in field sobriety tests. The law does not require that you take these tests, but officers are allowed to use your refusal to participate against you—by refusing the field sobriety tests, you will very likely end up being placed under arrest for OWI. Wisconsin then has an “Implied Consent Law” that requires you to either agree to a breath or blood test (officer’s choice) or face additional penalties. By refusing to take the breath or blood test, your license could be revoked and you could be required to participate in mandatory classes and install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. 

Zero Tolerance Policy

Keep in mind that if you are under the age of 21, Wisconsin has a zero tolerance policy for OWI. This means that officers can arrest you for OWI if your BAC is anything above 0.0%.

Obtaining Legal Representation

If you ever find yourself facing OWI or test refusal charges, you need an experienced Wisconsin criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and provide the best Wisconsin OWI defense possible.

Stroud, Willink & Howard Criminal Defense Group LLC is that law firm. We have been practicing criminal defense law for many years, and a significant portion of our practice is dedicated to DWI/OWI law. Call us today to schedule your free initial consultation.