Tonya Sisler has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Carolina in Journalism and has worked for 15+ years in management. She has also completed a proofreading certification and is currently a professional writer.

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Brad Larson has been in the insurance industry for more than a dozen years. He started out as a claims adjuster for a national carrier. He has since switched to the agency side of the business. Brad is licensed in all P&C lines.

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Reviewed by Brad Larsen
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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When shopping for Wisconsin auto insurance, there are a vast number of factors that must be considered and weighed with Wisconsin DUI Laws. While nobody plans to be charged with drunk driving, such things do happen and have an impact on one’s current and future insurance coverage. In Wisconsin, drunk driving is known as Operating While Under the Influence (OWI) and carries various penalties, depending on one’s conviction history. What follows is an overview of the laws that may affect your driving privileges and coverage options – it is not intended to be a substitute for consulting a licensed attorney when necessary. If you just got a DUI/OWI, you should take the time to get cheap car insurance with our ZIP code search!

Wisconsin OWI Laws

According to state insurance laws and the State of Wisconsin,  the operation of a motor vehicle under any and all of the following conditions is prohibited:

  • Operating a vehicle at the time that one’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 or above – this is in keeping with the nationally accepted levels associated with impaired ability
  • Operating a vehicle at the time that one’s BAC is 0.04 or above if a commercial vehicle is being operated;
  • Operating a vehicle at the time that one’s BAC is 0.02 or above if the vehicle operator is below the age of 21;
  • Operating a vehicle with under the influence of a controlled substance or intoxicant, including, but not limited to, marijuana, meth, cocaine, or Schedule I or Schedule II narcotics

A motorist who is believed to impaired can be detained and tested by a police officer, and if found to be impaired will be charged with OWI.

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The Penalties for Breaking DUI Laws

Under Wisconsin Law, the fines and penalties for OWI are directly related to how many offenses the individual being charged has been convicted of in the past. Each subsequent charge carries a more severe penalty.

First Offense Conviction Penalties

  • A cash fine ranging from $150 to $300
  • The convicted driver will have his or her license suspended for a period or 6 to 9 months
  • The court may require the driver to obtain an occupational license – an occupational driver’s license is one that grants its holder with the privilege of driving to and from work or school only; all other driving privileges are revoked.
  • An alcohol assessment
  • SR-22 Insurance Filing – this is proof of financial responsibility that must be filed with the state; under an SR-22, the car insurance company is certifying the financial responsibility of the driver and an additional charge will often apply

Wisconsin DUI

Second Offense Conviction Penalties

  • A cash fine ranging from $300 to $1100
  • Jail time, which carries a minimum of 5 days and a maximum of 6 months
  • The convicted driver will have his or her license suspended for a period or 12 to 18 months
  • The court will require the driver to obtain an occupational license after 60 days of zero driving privileges; if this conviction is within 5 years of the first conviction, an occupational license may be obtained after 12 months
  • An alcohol assessment
  • SR-22 Insurance will be required at the time the occupational license is applied for from the state
  • The driver’s vehicle may be immobilized or may require and Ignition Interlock Device, a device that requires the driver to breath into a dashboard mounted breathalyzer in order to start the vehicle

Third Offense Conviction Penalties

  • A cash fine ranging from $600 to $2000
  • Jail time, which carries a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of 1 year
  • The convicted driver will have his or her license suspended for a period or 2 to 3 years
  • The court will require the driver to obtain an occupational license after 90 days of zero driving privileges; if this conviction is within 5 years of the first conviction, an occupational license may be obtained after 12 months
  • An alcohol assessment
  • SR-22 Insurance will be required at the time the occupational license is applied for from the state
  • The driver’s vehicle may be immobilized or may require and Ignition Interlock
  • The vehicle may be seized and become property of the state

Fourth Offense Conviction Penalties

  • A cash fine ranging from $600 to $2000
  • Jail time, which carries a minimum of 60 days and a maximum of 1 year
  • The convicted driver will have his or her license suspended for a period or 2 to 3 years
  • The court will require the driver to obtain an occupational license after 90 days of zero driving privileges; if this conviction is within 5 years of the first conviction, an occupational license may be obtained after 12 months
  • An alcohol assessment
  • SR-22 Insurance will be required at the time the occupational license is applied for from the state
  • The driver’s vehicle may be immobilized or may require and Ignition Interlock
  • The vehicle may be seized and become property of the state

Fifth Offense Conviction Penalties and Beyond

  • A cash fine ranging from $600 to $10,000
  • Jail time, which carries a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 6 years
  • The convicted driver will have his or her license suspended for a period or 2 to 3 years
  • The court will require the driver to obtain an occupational license after 60 days of zero driving privileges; if this conviction is within 5 years of the first conviction, an occupational license may be obtained after 12 months
  • An alcohol assessment
  • SR-22 Insurance will be required at the time the occupational license is applied for from the state
  • The driver’s vehicle may be immobilized or may require and Ignition Interlock Device, a device that requires the driver to breath into a dashboard mounted breathalyzer in order to start the vehicle

Compare Wisconsin DUI Insurance

One of the critical points for any individual comparing car insurance quotes to understand is that in Wisconsin, OWI convictions can result in the need for special insurance certificates. Understanding these, the implication for your auto insurance coverage, and what is required, can be a key part of successful comparison shopping.