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Do the Penalties Change Depending on Your BAC for a Wisconsin OWI?

 Posted on July 23, 2020 in DUI/OWI

Ozaukee County criminal defense attorney OWI

Wisconsin has long been criticized for being the last state in the country to not criminalize a person’s first offense for operating a vehicle while they are intoxicated (OWI). While efforts are continuously being made to strengthen penalties for first-time OWI convictions, existing punishments for multiple OWI convictions can be strict, especially if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is relatively high when you are pulled over. Being convicted of an OWI not only means that you could face immense fines and other penalties but depending on your circumstances, this could also mean you now have a criminal record that could affect you for the rest of your life. If you have been charged with an OWI, you should speak with a Wisconsin OWI criminal defense attorney right away to protect your rights and driving privileges. 

Prohibited BAC Levels

In the state of Wisconsin, there is more than one way the law classifies whether a person is “intoxicated” when driving. You are considered to be operating while intoxicated if you:

  • Are under the influence of drugs or alcohol to the point that it limits your ability to safely operate your vehicle

  • Have a prohibited alcohol concentration (PAC)

  • Have any amount of a controlled substance in your system

Although the legal BAC limit across the country is 0.08 percent, your BAC does not actually have to be above that limit to be charged with an OWI in Wisconsin. For first, second, and third OWI convictions, the PAC is 0.08 percent. However, for fourth and subsequent offenders, as well as those who are subject to an ignition interlock device (IID), the PAC is lower at 0.02 percent. For those individuals who hold a commercial driver’s license, the PAC is 0.04 percent.

Excessive BAC Escalator

If your BAC is over the PAC, you will most likely be charged with an OWI. The penalties that come with the OWI charge depend mostly on your circumstances and whether you have had past OWI convictions. However, your BAC does play a role in your penalties. Typically, the higher your BAC, the higher your fines will be. According to Wisconsin law, excessive BACs can result in increased fines and forfeitures as follows:

  • BAC between 0.17 to 0.199 percent: If your BAC is between these two values, Wisconsin law states that your fines could be doubled. This means you could face up to $600 for a first-offense OWI.

  • BAC between 0.20 to 0.249 percent: If your BAC falls within this range, you could see your fines tripled. A first-offense OWI could result in fines of up to $900, while a second-offense OWI with a prior offense within 10 years could result in fines of up to $3,300.

  • BAC of 0.25 percent or above: If your BAC is 0.25 or greater when you are arrested for OWI, you could see your possible fines quadrupled. This means a first-offense OWI, which usually has a maximum fine of $300, could end up having a fine of up to $1,200. A second-offense OWI with a prior offense within the past 10 years, which usually has a maximum fine of $1,100, could carry a fine as much as $4,400.

Contact a Milwaukee County Criminal Defense Attorney 

You should keep in mind that your BAC is only one element of your OWI case. While it can have some bearing on your OWI penalties, there are other factors, such as whether or not there were any injuries or deaths caused by the OWI or if there was a child in the vehicle. At the distinguished Bucher Law Group, LLC, our team of defense lawyers is here to help you navigate your OWI offense and obtain a favorable outcome for your case. To schedule a free consultation with one of our dedicated Waukesha County OWI defense lawyers, call us today at 262-303-4916.






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