Wisconsin isn’t known for its tough stance against drunk driving in the state, but, it does have a strict “implied consent” policy for anyone suspected of operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI). “Implied consent” essentially means that when you received your driver’s license, you agreed to submit to blood alcohol concentration (BAC) testing upon arrest for drunk driving. If you fight the testing, the state’s “no refusal” laws kick in, and you face additional penalties if you are found guilty of OWI, as well as an immediate restriction of your license.
Refusing the chemical BAC testing will immediately cause you to lose your driver’s license. For some, after 30 days, you are able to apply for an occupational driver’s license, at which time you may also have an ignition interlock requirement in order to drive legally. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest and/or conviction, or any prior OWIs, you could also have your request for an occupational license denied.
An occupational license lets you keep working. The license restricts your ability to drive during certain hours, however, and if you also have an ignition interlock requirement, you will also have to maintain the device at your service provider on a regular basis. Since the ignition interlock device ensures you are sober while driving, the court can be less restrictive with limiting the time you are able to drive, although this varies across the state. The important thing to remember is that when you have an occupational license and an ignition interlock device, your freedom to drive is less impacted, and you can take positive steps to fully regain your freedom once you have satisfied the requirements of your OWI conviction.
By refusing a BAC test in Wisconsin, you will face a lot more than a ride to the police station. Instead of wondering whether you should refuse the breathalyzer test and subject yourself to the restrictions of an occupational license and/or ignition interlock device, remember it is a lot cheaper and less frustrating to call a taxi when you’ve been drinking.