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Wisconsin DUI Laws

Wisconsin prohibits a person from operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) by drugs or alcohol. This prohibition includes any person who drives or operates a vehicle:
  • + with a prohibited blood alcohol concentration (per se DUI),
  • + while “under the influence” of any substance that renders the person incapable of safely driving, or
  • + with any detectable amount of restricted controlled substances (such as methamphetamine) in the blood.

A prohibited blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is any BAC of .08% or more regardless of the person’s level of actual impairment. The volume of alcohol necessary to reach these BAC levels can differ depending on the person’s gender, body size and the type of alcohol. 

Wisconsin DUI Penalties


  1st Offense 2nd Offense 3rd Offense
5 days to 6 months 45 days to 1 year
$150 to $300
$350 to $1,100 $600 to $2,000

Ignition interlock devices (IIDs)

Since mandatory IID requirements went into effect in 2010, WisDOT has received hundreds of calls and emails with questions about the program.

·         FAQs about ignition interlock devices (this link has more info about the rules too, I copied the violation rules below this section)

The FAQ addresses many of these questions, including:

·         Legal Issues and the Courts

·         Drivers License and Vehicle Registration

·         Fees

·         Operation

·         Installation and Service

·         Violations

·         Health-Related Issues

·         Tips and Troubleshooting

·         Appendix A: Glossary

·         Appendix B: Administrative Code and Statute Citations

Installation of an ignition interlock device

Wisconsin courts are required to order an IID to be installed on every vehicle owned by the offender for first offense OWI with an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or higher, for all second or subsequent OWI offense and for chemical test refusal, unless doing so would cause an undue financial hardship.

IIDs are leased from a service provider for the duration of the vehicle sanction, a minimum of 12 months. The lease and service agreement includes fees for installation, monthly service, and removal at the conclusion of the sanction. Other fees may be assessed by the service provider for periodic calibration, violation resets, or permanent lockout conditions.

There are currently five IID models certified for use in Wisconsin. Additional information about each is available on the manufacturer’s website.

Installation of an ignition interlock device is carried out by service centers, that are located throughout the state. After identifying nearby service centers, the offender should call the toll-free number listed for fee information and to schedule an appointment for installation.

The installation must be completed within 14 days of a court order or customer request, whichever is later. OWI offenders who are serving a sentence in a county jail and qualify for daily work release privileges have two weeks to show proof of IID installation. Failure to show proof will result in revocation of work release privileges.

IID contacts

For assistance or additional information about driver licensing and vehicle registration, contact WisDOT Division of Motor Vehicles, Driver Information Section at (608) 266-2261 or via web-based form.

For all other IID topics, contact the device manufacturer; Draeger can be contacted at (888) 332-6858, Intoxalock at (877) 262-6481, Smart Start at (888) 234-0198, LifeSafer at (888) 957-7396, and Low Cost at (844) 387-0326.

Contact Information

Chemical Test Section
3502 Kinsman Blvd
Madison, WI 53704

Fax: (608) 243-2954

Email: chemtest@dot.wi.gov

IID Violations (from FAQ link)

Violations What causes the emergency lights and horn to be activated? A rolling retest result of FAIL, ABORT or REFUSED will activate the vehicle’s emergency lights and horn. Their activation provides an indicator to law enforcement of a possible violation of an operating restriction. The following table explains when the IID will activate a vehicle’s emergency lights and horn and what may happen on second and third sample attempts:

The only way to deactivate the horn and emergency lights is to either provide a PASS on a subsequent attempt or to pull out of traffic and turn the engine off. After approximately 2 minutes, the driver will be able to restart the vehicle, provided their breath alcohol concentration is below .02.