What is Operating While Impaired?

Operating under the influence of intoxicant or other drug (OWI) is outlined in Wis. Stat. §346.63. The statute is available here.

  1. Be in physical control of a motor vehicle;
  2. While under the influence of an intoxicant, controlled substance, controlled substance analog (synthetic), or any other drug to a degree that makes him/her incapable of driving safely.

Driving while under the influence of any detectable amount of a controlled substance is strictly prohibited under the statute. If a driver is under the influence of alcohol, the driver’s blood alcohol concentration may not be over .08. If a driver is unable to drive safely because of his/her alcohol consumption, the driver’s actual blood alcohol concentration may be disregarded.

If the driver is not of legal drinking age, he/she may be charged with and found guilty of OWI regardless of blood alcohol concentration.

Refusing to submit to a chemical test after arrest is not a crime in the state of Wisconsin. However, civil penalties, such as driver’s license revocation, may be imposed.

The penalties for OWI and other alcohol-related offenses vary based on the number of previous offenses and whether there was great bodily harm or death because of the incident. To determine what penalties are associated with your charged offense, review the chart available here. Please note that OWI penalties will change on January 1, 2017.

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