All 50 states have implied consent laws. These laws are designed to compel drivers to produce blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test results to determine if they are intoxicated. A test reading at or above the legal limit is a guaranteed arrest for OWI in Wisconsin. Even a lower amount can be probable cause to arrest a driver for drunk driving. Another way that police can have probable cause is if a driver refuses a BAC test when asked. that is officially a Wisconsin implied consent violation that carries additional penalties.
You agreed to Wisconsin implied consent laws when you applied for your driver’s license.
There are three opportunities to prove your commitment to those laws:
- If you are pulled over by police and asked to submit a BAC sample, refusing that test is a violation of implied consent. Instead, you can agree to take the test at that time.
- If you refuse the preliminary BAC test, you could be arrested based on probable cause. The general consensus is that if a person refuses BAC testing, they may be too intoxicated to make that decision properly. Therefore, an arrest will be made and you will then be asked for your BAC again. If you refuse the test after an arrest, you are in violation of the Wisconsin implied consent laws.
- If you are in your own vehicle, trying to “sleep it off,” and approached by law enforcement, you will still be asked to provide a BAC sample. You do not even have to be driving, but appear to be in control of your vehicle (you could potentially drive away at any time) for you to be suspected of OWI. The same no refusal policy applies even if you are not driving.
Penalties for violating Wisconsin implied consent laws range from a one-year driver’s license revocation for a first offense to up to three years for a third offense. In some cases, you may qualify for an ignition interlock device. Those restrictions are on top of anything you may receive for the OWI in court or through the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles.