While first time offenders are given some leeway, repeat offenders face significant fines and penalties for a DUI conviction in Wisconsin. This makes it more important than ever to avoid that first conviction. Currently, the state has a 2-star rating from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), so licenses drivers can expect a concentrated effort from authorities as well as organization like MADD to improve current legislation.
Wisconsin DUI by the Numbers (based on 2012 overall numbers)
While the fatality rate is not among the highest in the country (3.5:100,000), it is still rather high compared to many states. The statistics lean towards both repeat offenders and drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .15+ being the main problem in the state:
- 29,126 total DUI arrests (21 from under-18 drivers)
- 200 total alcohol-related fatalities (25 from under-21 drivers)
- 8 percent decrease in alcohol-related fatalities
- 3 percent decrease in alcohol-related fatalities for under-21 drivers
- 1 percent of fatalities involved a driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .15+
- 80 percent of repeat offenders had a BAC of .15+
DUI First Offense Penalties in Wisconsin
As was briefly mentioned above, first time offense penalties and fines in Wisconsin are fairly low. They currently rank among the lowest in the country. Below are the fines and penalties as of this writing:
- Monetary fines ranging from $150 to $300
- No mandatory IID required
- No mandatory jail sentence
- License suspension may range from six months to nine months
You can refuse to take the chemical tests if arrested, but you will automatically lose your license. Wisconsin is an implied consent state, so the one-year revocation remains even if you fight the charges in court and win. Unlike a suspension, you will have to retake all driving tests and exams to get your license back after the term has been served.
Wisconsin has a 10-year washout period for repeat offenders.
Should You Hire a DUI Attorney if Arrested and Charged in Wisconsin?
Do not be fooled by the lower penalties and fines in Wisconsin for a DUI because these are not the only repercussions. If you are found guilty and convicted, you could face severe consequences in both your private and professional life. With fines also escalating significantly after the first offense, your best chance of winning your case in court to avoid future problems and heavy penalties is to hire a local attorney. For more information about Wisconsin DUI attorneys and getting your arrest examined, please fill out the Free DUI Arrest Evaluation Form.
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and DUI law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any driving under the influence arrest charges, get free online assistance in learning how to fight a DUI case for the best possible outcome.