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Understanding Wisconsin's DUI policies

Although some Wisconsin residents may feel perfectly capable of driving after having one or two alcoholic beverages with dinner, they may face certain penalties if charged with drunk driving. In Wisconsin, motorists who drive with a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 percent or above are considered intoxicated and can be arrested for a DUI, as reported by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

According to the Wisconsin State Bar, Wisconsin is the only state that does not criminalize a person’s first DUI offense. In 2009, the state made changes to their impaired driving legislation, which led to stricter consequences for repeat DUI offenders. Some of these changes include:

  • People convicted of a second or third DUI may be eligible for probation as long as they serve the required jail time.
  • First-time DUI offenders who have a child under the age of 16 with them in the vehicle will be charged with a misdemeanor.
  • All Wisconsin county courts are able to offer DUI offenders admittance into a strict drug and alcohol treatment program. The offender may receive a reduced jail sentence in exchange for completion of the supervised program.
  • Ignition interlock devices are required to be used by people convicted of multiple DUI offenses. First-time offenders who have a BAC measuring 0.15 percent or higher will be required to use an ignition interlock device for one year.
  • People who commit a fourth DUI offense within five years of being convicted of a third offense will be charged with a Class H felony. They may face anywhere from six months to six years in prison.

Understanding the specific details of Wisconsin’s DUI laws can help people who face DUI-related charges. It may be possible for people to negotiate for a lesser charge which can lessen the impact a conviction would have on their life.

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