Although marijuana possession and use are legal in many states, Wisconsin is not one of them. Even in states where it is legal, it is still illegal to operate a vehicle while under its influence.
Because marijuana is illegal in the state, a driver can face severe penalties if stopped by a law enforcement officer for suspicion of driving under the influence.
Marijuana and operating under the influence
Marijuana can affect one’s motor coordination, judgment and reaction time, and this negatively affects driving ability. According to the State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation, a person can receive an OWI even with no alcohol in the system, as it is illegal to drive under the influence of any drug. If an officer determines someone is unable to safely operate a vehicle, an arrest can occur regardless of the blood alcohol concentration level.
The penalties for an OWI conviction vary based on a number of factors. The age of the driver, subsequent offenses and harming another individual are some of them. Potential penalties include:
- Fines of up to $100,000
- License revocation from six months to a lifetime
- 24/7 sobriety program
Penalties for marijuana possession
If the officer finds the driver in possession of marijuana at the time of the stop, the driver faces not only a potential OWI charge but also a drug possession charge. The Wisconsin State Legislature outlines the penalties associated with a marijuana possession conviction. A first offense is a misdemeanor, and penalties may include a fine of up to $1,000 and jail time of up to six months. Subsequent offenses are a felony, and potential penalties are fines and prison time.