Wisconsin OWI Laws & Penalties

Wisconsin OWI/DUI law section 346.63 states that it is against the law for any person to operate a motor vehicle in the state of Wisconsin while they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs with a blood alcohol concentration level of .08% or greater.

It is not necessary for a person who has been stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence to display the signs one would typically associate with someone who is under the influence.  Just the fact that a chemical test shows a blood alcohol concentration level of .08% or greater will get you arrested for OWI/DUI in the state of Wisconsin.

It should also be noted that a person could still be arrested for driving under the influence in the state of Wisconsin even if their blood alcohol concentration level is below the legal limit of .08% just by displaying signs that are consistent with a person who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.



When an officer stops someone on suspicion of OWI/DUI in Wisconsin, the officer is already starting to build a case against that person by observing their driving patterns prior to initiating the OWI/DUI stop.  If the officer has established reasonable grounds and suspects that someone is under the influence, the officer is going to request that the individual perform some field sobriety test (it is not required by law that you submit to the field sobriety tests. If an officer asks you to take the field sobriety test, just kindly refuse his request).

Wisconsin Chemical Test Refusal

If you are arrested on a first offense OWI charge and you refuse to submit to a chemical test your license will automatically be revoked for 1-year and you will be eligible for an Occupational license after 30 days.

If this is a second offense refusal your license will be revoked for 2-years and you will be eligible for an Occupational license after 90 days, you will also be required to install an ignition interlock device as a requirement of being granted an Occupational license.

If this is a third offense refusal your license will be revoked for 3-years and you will have to wait 120 days before being granted an Occupational license, you will also be required to install an ignition interlock device as a requirement of being granted an Occupational license.

Wisconsin First Offense OWI

A first offense Wisconsin OWI conviction is a Misdemeanor offense.  If there was a passenger under the age of 16 in the vehicle at the time of arrest all of the penalties listed below for a first offense will be doubled.

  • Jail time: There is no required jail sentence for first offenders unless there are extenuating circumstances.

  • Fines: A first offense conviction will result in fines of between $150 - $300 plus all associated court costs.  If your OWI resulted in the injury of another person the fines will be between $300 - $2,000 plus court costs. If your OWI resulted in great bodily injury to another person the fine amount will be up to $25,000 plus court costs.  If your OWI resulted in the death of another person the fine amount will be up to $100,000 plus court costs.  You will also have to pay a $365 OWI surcharge.

  • Alcohol assessment: The court will also require you to attend an Intoxicated Driver Program for an alcohol or drug assessment.

  • Test refusal: A first offense refusal will result in a 1 year license revocation.

  • Ignition interlock: An IID will be required for 1 year those with a BAC of .15% or greater.

  • License revocation: Your license will be revoked for 6 to 9 months following a first offense and you will be eligible for an Occupational license immediately. Before the Wisconsin DOT will reinstate your license following your revocation period or issue you an Occupational license you will be required to show proof of financial responsibility in the form of a Wisconsin SR22 insurance policy that meets the states minimum auto insurance liability coverage limits.  You will also have to pay a license reinstatement fee to the DOT.

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Wisconsin Second Offense OWI

An OWI conviction in Wisconsin is considered a second offense if it occurs within 5-years of a previous offense conviction.  If there was a passenger under the age of 16 in the vehicle at the time of arrest all of the penalties listed below for a second offense will be doubled.

  • Jail time: A second offense will result in a jail sentence from 5 days up to 6 months.
  • Fines: A second offense will result in fines up to $1,100 plus all associated court costs.  If your OWI resulted in the injury of another person the fines will be between $300 - $2,000 plus court costs. If your OWI resulted in great bodily injury to another person the fine amount will be up to $25,000 plus court costs.  If your OWI resulted in the death of another person the fine amount will be up to $100,000 plus court costs.  You will also have to pay a $365 OWI surcharge.

  • Alcohol assessment: The court will also require you to attend an Intoxicated Driver Program for an alcohol or drug assessment.

  • Test refusal: A second offense refusal will result in a 2 year license revocation.

  • Ignition interlock: An IID will be required anywhere from 1 year to 18 months.

  • License revocation: Your license will be revoked for 12 to 18 months following a second offense and you will be eligible for an Occupational license after 45 days. If your OWI resulted in the injury of another person your license will be revoked for 1 - 2 years and you will be eligible for an Occupational licenseafter the first 60-days of your revocation period or 1-year if this was a second offense within 5-years of a previous offense.

    If your OWI resulted in great bodily injury to another person your license will be revoked for 2-years and you will be eligible for an Occupational license after the first 120 days of your revocation period or 1-year if this was a second offense within 5-years of a previous offense.  If your OWI resulted in the death of another person your license will be revoked for 5-years and you will be eligible for an Occupational license after the first 120 days of your revocation period or 1-year if this was a second offense within 5-years of a previous offense.

    Before the Wisconsin DOT will reinstate your license following your revocation period or issue you an Occupational license you will be required to show proof of financial responsibility in the form of a Wisconsin SR22 insurance policy that meets the states minimum auto insurance liability coverage limits.  You will also have to pay a license reinstatement fee to the DOT.

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Wisconsin Third Offense OWI

An OWI conviction in Wisconsin is considered a third offense if it occurs within 5-years of at least one of two previous offense convictions.  If there was a passenger under the age of 16 in the vehicle at the time of arrest all of the penalties listed below for a second offense will be doubled.

  • Jail time: A third offense will result in a jail term of 45 days up to 1 year.
  • Fines:  A third offense will result in fines of between $600 - $2,000 based on your BAC level, plus all associated court costs.
  • Alcohol assessment: The court will also require you to attend an Intoxicated Driver Program for an alcohol or drug assessment.

  • Test refusal: A third offense refusal will result in a 3 year license revocation.

  • Ignition interlock: An IID will be required for anywhere from 1 - 3 years or more.

  • License revocation: Your license will be revoked for 2 - 3 years following a third offense and you will be eligible for an Occupational license after 45 days. If your OWI resulted in the injury of another person your license will be revoked for 1 - 2 years and you will be eligible for an Occupational licenseafter the first 60-days of your revocation period or 1-year if this was a third offense within 5-years of a previous offense.

    If your OWI resulted in great bodily injury to another person your license will be revoked for 2-years and you will be eligible for an Occupational licenseafter the first 120 days of your revocation period or 1-year if this was a third offense within 5-years of a previous offense.  If your OWI resulted in the death of another person your license will be revoked for 5-years and you will be eligible for an Occupational license after the first 120 days of your revocation period or 1-year if this was a third offense within 5-years of a previous offense.

    Before the Wisconsin DOT will reinstate your license following your revocation period or issue you an Occupational license you will be required to show proof of financial responsibility in the form of a Wisconsin SR22 policy that meets the states minimum auto insurance liability coverage limits.  You will also have to pay a license reinstatement fee to the DOT.

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Wisconsin Fourth Offense OWI

An OWI/DUI conviction in Wisconsin is considered a fourth offense if it occurs within 5-years of at least one of three previous offense convictions.  If there was a passenger under the age of 16 in the vehicle at the time of arrest all of the penalties listed below for a second offense will be doubled.

  • Jail time: A fourth offense will result in a jail sentence from 60 days to 1 year.
  • Fines: A fourth offense will result in fines of between $600 - $2,000 based on your BAC level, plus all associated court costs.
  • Alcohol assessment: The court will also require you to attend anIntoxicated Driver Program for an alcohol or drug assessment.

  • Test refusal: A fourth offense refusal will result in a 3 plus year license revocation.

  • Ignition interlock: An IID will be required for anywhere from 1 - 3 years or more.
  • License revocation: Your license will be revoked for 2 - 3 years following a fourth offense and you will be eligible for an Occupational license after 45 days if the fourth offense is more than 5-years since your previous offense. If the fourth offense occurred within 5-years of a previous offense you will be eligible for an Occupational license after 1-year of the revocation period has passed.

    Before the Wisconsin DOT will reinstate your license following your revocation period or issue you an Occupational license you will be required to show proof of financial responsibility in the form of a SR22 insurance policy that meets the states minimum auto insurance liability coverage limits.  You will also have to pay a license reinstatement fee to the DOT.

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Wisconsin CDL OWI Laws

A person operating a commercial motor vehicle in the state of Wisconsin while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or an intoxicant with a blood alcohol concentration of .04% or greater or failing to submit to a chemical test is in violation of the state's laws regarding CDL's and will be arrested for OWI and your CDL will be revoked for a period of 1-year following a first offense violation.  A second CDL OWI offense will result in your CDL being revoked for life.

A first offense will also result in a $150 - $300 fine.  You will be able to obtain a Class D/M Occupational license after the first 15 days of your revocation period.  A second offense will also result in a $300 - $1,000 fine along with a jail sentence between 5-days and 6-months.



If you were carrying hazardous materials at the time, your CDL will be revoked for 3-years. A second offense violation while carrying hazardous materials will result in a permanent CDL revocation, you will never be able to drive or operate a CMV again.  A CMV operator stopped and found to have any measurable amount of alcohol less than .04% in their system will be issued an "out-of-service" notice and will not be allowed to drive for the next 24-hours.

Wisconsin OWI Under 21 Years of Age

In the State of Wisconsin if you are under the age of 21 and stopped by an officer and found to have any measurable amount of alcohol in your system at the time, you will be arrested for violating Wisconsin's "Not a Drop" law for underage drinking and driving.

Anyone who violates the "Not a Drop" law will be fined $200 and have their license suspended for 3-months.  You will be eligible for an Occupational License immediately in this situation.

There are numerous law variations for underage alcohol offenses in Wisconsin, it is recommended that you read the Underage Alcohol Offense and Related Penaltiesdocument for a complete understanding.

If you are under 21 and are arrested for having a BAC level of .08% or greater you will be facing the same fines and penalties as someone over 21 would face for the same offense.

You will also be required to show proof of financial responsibility in the form of an SR22 insurance filing before the DOT will reinstate your license.

Wisconsin SR22 Requirements

Before the Wisconsin Department of Transportation will reinstate your license following your revocation period, they will require you to file an SR22 form with them before issuing you a new license. You will be required to carry your SR22 insurance for a period of 3-years.

At anytime during this 3-year period if there is a lapse in your Wisconsin SR22 insurance coverage, your insurance provider is obligated by law to immediately inform the Wisconsin Department of Transportation of the lapse.  If a lapse in coverage occurs, the Wisconsin DOT will immediately revoke your license and you will be required to re-file an SR22 form with the DOT before they will issue you another license.

Since you are going to have to have your SR22 insurance for a period of 3-years, it is important to find the cheapest policy you can before choosing one.  DUI Process has partnered with the largest and most trusted SR22 insurance provider in the state of Wisconsin and has worked out a special discount only available here for our website visitors.

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Other Wisconsin DUI Resources

  • Wisconsin First Offense OWI - First offense information including penalties, fines, potential jail time, license suspension, OWI classes, and much more.

  • Wisconsin SR22 Insurance Filings - We have compiled everything you need to know about Wisconsin SR22 insurance and filing requirements including important addresses, phone numbers, etc.

  • Wisconsin Drug & Alcohol Programs - We offer a complete listing of state approved OWI programs listed by County.

  • Wisconsin Bail Bondsmen - Comprehensive list of Wisconsin bail bond agents including address, phone, website, etc.