What Is the Legal Bac Limit in Wisconsin

What Is the Legal BAC Limit in Wisconsin?

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense that can have severe consequences. Every state in the US has established a legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit to determine when a person is considered impaired and unfit to drive. In Wisconsin, the legal BAC limit is set at 0.08%. This means that if a driver’s BAC level reaches or exceeds this limit, they can be charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI).


1. How is BAC measured?
BAC is typically measured through a breathalyzer test, which estimates the alcohol content in a person’s bloodstream by analyzing their breath. Blood and urine tests can also be used to determine BAC levels.

2. Can I refuse to take a BAC test?
Refusing to take a BAC test in Wisconsin can result in severe consequences, including an automatic suspension of your driver’s license for a year. Wisconsin is an implied consent state, meaning that by obtaining a driver’s license, you have implicitly consented to a BAC test when requested by law enforcement.

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3. Are there stricter BAC limits for certain drivers?
Yes, Wisconsin has stricter BAC limits for certain drivers. For commercial drivers, the BAC limit is set at 0.04%, while for drivers under the age of 21, any detectable amount of alcohol in their system can lead to an OWI charge.

4. What are the penalties for a first-time OWI offense?
A first-time OWI offense in Wisconsin can result in fines ranging from $150 to $300, a six to nine-month driver’s license suspension, and the requirement to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle.

5. Do the penalties increase for subsequent OWI offenses?
Yes, the penalties for subsequent OWI offenses in Wisconsin become increasingly severe. A second offense within ten years can lead to fines up to $1,100, an 18-month license suspension, and mandatory IID installation.

6. Can I be charged with an OWI even if my BAC is below the legal limit?
Yes, you can still be charged with an OWI in Wisconsin even if your BAC is below 0.08%. If an officer determines that your ability to drive is impaired by alcohol or drugs, you can be arrested and convicted based on their observations and other evidence.

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7. What happens if I cause an accident while driving under the influence?
If you cause an accident while driving under the influence in Wisconsin, the penalties can be even more severe. Depending on the circumstances, you may face additional charges such as reckless driving, causing injury or death while intoxicated, and may be subject to civil lawsuits.

8. Can I apply for a restricted license after an OWI conviction?
Yes, after serving a certain period of your license suspension, you may be eligible to apply for an occupational or restricted license in Wisconsin. This allows you to drive to work, school, and other necessary destinations while serving your suspension.

9. Can I hire a lawyer to help with my OWI case?
Absolutely. It is highly recommended to seek legal representation if you are charged with an OWI in Wisconsin. A skilled attorney can help protect your rights, navigate the legal process, and work towards minimizing the potential consequences you may face.

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In conclusion, it is crucial to be aware of the legal BAC limit in Wisconsin to avoid serious legal consequences. Remember, even if your BAC is below the legal limit, impaired driving can still lead to an OWI charge. It is always best to plan ahead and arrange alternative transportation if you plan on consuming alcohol.