Drivers in Wisconsin often misunderstand the facts behind OWI laws and those misconceptions can be costly. If you believe that you can only face an OWI charge if you fail a breath test, the actual law may surprise you.
You should know the facts about Wisconsin’s OWI laws.
Wisconsin has two forms of OWI charges
Every driver should understand that OWI charges in the state of Wisconsin are permissible on two separate foundations.
Per se charges
Wisconsin’s OWI per se charge is what most drivers consider. This charge depends on the failure of a blood alcohol test with a concentration over the legal limit. For most drivers, that legal limit is .08%, though commercial license holders and prior OWI offenders may have a limit as low as .02%. Per se laws also cover controlled substances if drivers test positive at any level.
You do not have to fail a breath test for OWI charges to apply. Drivers under the legal limit may still face OWI charges under impairment laws. If a field sobriety test and officer observation indicate impairment significant enough to interfere with driving safety, you may face OWI charges on the grounds of impairment.
You can contest OWI charges
There are several defenses to OWI charges. You can fight a narcotics per se charge if you hold a valid prescription, though you may still face OWI on the grounds of impairment in those cases. You can also contest the results of a field test if you have a medical condition or disability that could interfere with the results.
Understanding the facts about OWI in Wisconsin helps you avoid criminal charges.