Wisconsin DUI Laws

Wisconsin DUI laws may cause insurance rates to increase between 20-50%, with policy renewals required every 6 months. Under DUI laws in Wisconsin, a conviction will stay on your driving record for up to 6 years.

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 21, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Drinking and driving is illegal in all 50 states
  • If caught drinking and driving in Wisconsin, penalties range from fines to losing your license
  • If convicted of OWI, you may qualify for a commercial license for work purposes

Wisconsin is having a huge problem with people who drive while intoxicated. Wisconsin DUI laws may cause insurance rates to increase between 20-50%. If your car insurance has gone up with DUI insurance laws violations. Hundreds of people lose their lives each year due to alcohol-related fatalities.

In addition, many people are also severely injured because of this poor decision.  Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) is against the law and because of the large numbers involved in the drunken driving problem, Wisconsin law enforcement has set a goal for themselves.

They would like to work to bring the number of fatalities caused by drunken driving to zero. Going from 220 to zero just may be possible, but even if they fail, just trying is a noble goal.

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Wisconsin DUI Laws


Wisconsin drivers will be considered to be intoxicated under four different circumstances:

  1. Their blood alcohol content (BAC) has been measured to be .08 or above this limit
  2. They were driving after having ingested an intoxicant which includes alcohol, prescription medication, and illegal drugs.
  3. They had any restricted controlled substance such as cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamines or heroin in their systems
  4. There was any trace of a controlled substance in the body

Wisconsin describes the offending substances as intoxicants, restricted controlled substances, and controlled substances which can all include the same chemical because they wanted to ensure that all types of intoxicating chemicals could fall under the definition.

If the substance results in impairing a driver’s ability to conduct a vehicle in the safest manner, Wisconsin considers the person taking it to be driving under the influence of a drug or alcohol.

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Wisconsin DUI Tests and Convictions

Wisconsin drivers may not refuse to give blood, breath, or urine to test for the presence of alcohol or drugs when they are stopped for a possible OWI. If they do, they will receive a license suspension that may last a year.

Drivers in Wisconsin also receive penalties for refusing to take part in the field sobriety test. These penalties have the potential to be harsher than those given to people convicted of OWI.

The first time Wisconsin drivers lose their cases in court and are found guilty of OWI, they will be assigned a fine. It can be as low as $150 or as high as $300. They will have to undergo an alcohol assessment.

They may be able to receive an occupational license; their drivers’ licenses will be suspended for at least six months and no longer than nine months. Lastly, they will need to file the SR22 form as their proof of insurance.

Wisconsin DUI Alcohol Assessment


An alcohol assessment requires OWI offenders to attend an interview with an assessor who will identify the offenders’ particular drug or alcohol problem.

After they have discerned the issue, the assessors can steer these offenders into the correct treatment program and/or driver education course.

Wisconsin DUI Occupational License

The occupational license allows Wisconsin drivers to drive to work and home again. They may also drive to their places of religious worship, but the number of hours per day they drive must not exceed 12.

They are also restricted in the number of hours per week which must not surpass 60. They aren’t allowed to drive to places such as the movies; the places they can drive legally will be written directly on these licenses.

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Wisconsin DUI Second Offenses

A second conviction for OWI gives these drivers a jail sentence which will be between five days and six months. They will have to pay a fine that maybe $300 or up to $1,100.

Their vehicles will either be immobilized or they will have to agree to have the Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in their vehicles.

A license suspension will last for one year or one year and a half, but they may be able to receive the occupational license after two months have passed.

If their first conviction was less than five years ago, they will have to wait one full year before they can apply for the occupational license.

They will require the SR22 form to be filed again in order to obtain their occupational licenses and they will need to have another alcohol assessment.

Wisconsin DUI Third Offense


After a third conviction, the required jail term will be one month to one year with a fine beginning at $600 and as much as $2,000. They will have their third required alcohol assessment.

Their vehicles will either be taken away from them, immobilized or the IID can be placed inside them.

Their license suspension will now be between two and three years with the possibility of receiving the occupational license after three months. It will be a one-year waiting period if there were two convictions in a span of five years.

In order to obtain an occupational license, these drivers will have to file the SR22 form yet again.

Multiple Wisconsin DUI Convictions

If Wisconsin drivers are unlucky enough to be convicted of OWI a fourth time, the penalties will be the same as for the third with one exception; one month will be added to their jail time.

The same is true for the fifth and the sixth convictions with two exceptions; the jail term lasts between six months and six years and the fine ranges from $600 to $10,000.

If a person receives one OWI and doesn’t receive another until after 10 years later, the first one will not count. This means that an OWI obtained 10 years later than the first will also be considered a first offense.

It’s possible to receive a third OWI. This can happen with two first offenses or with a first and second offense that occurred in less than 10 years of each other.

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Wisconsin DUI Insurance Increases


How long does a DUI stay on your driving record in Wisconsin? If received an OWI after January 1, 1989, Multiple OWIs remain on Wisconsin drivers’ records forever if they received them after January 1, 1989.

Depending on the insurance company, people who obtain an OWI see an increase in their rates between 20 and 50 percent, unless the insurance company decides to cancel the policy.

Rather than accept the fact that their Wisconsin state auto insurance rates have increased by 50 percent, people with an OWI on their records can look for those companies that sell car insurance and specialize in OWI auto insurance.

Wisconsin car insurance law dictates that an OWI auto insurance policy would include the SR22 filing that every OWI offender is required to have to drive legally.

Larger insurance companies are known for canceling their clients’ policies when they receive their OWIs. They may also be the ones. High-risk drivers will just need to work a payment plan out with these companies.

Finding Wisconsin DUI Insurance

In order to find the insurance companies that can offer cheap full coverage car insurance for OWI offenders, Wisconsin drivers may use our free zip code search.

They will receive quotes from several companies including the national companies and they can compare those quotes to the rates they are paying with their current insurance company, as well as to the quotes they receive from smaller Wisconsin insurance companies

Before Wisconsin drivers received their first OWIs, they may have been used to renewing their policy every year.

Because they have become such a high risk for their insurance companies, they are required to renew every six months. A DUI will stay on your record for at least 6 years. They should compare quotes with our FREE comparison tool often to get the best rate!

The first OWI should serve as a wake-up call for Wisconsin drivers that they need to take their driving a little more seriously. If you are convicted of OWI and need insurance, take the time and compare quotes several different companies before making a final decision.

Enter your ZIP code below and find the right policy today!

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