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Appleton OWI Defense Attorneys

Drunk Driving and Wisconsin Law

In Wisconsin law, drunk driving is referred to as Operating While Impaired (OWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI). This language was chosen because it is more specific than the phrase “drunk driving.” In our state, it is illegal to drive while under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or even prescription drugs, if they affect your judgment.

Getting Pulled Over

If a police offer suspects you of driving under the influence or intending to do so, they will approach your vehicle and ask you to get out. You can still be arrested for OWI even if your car is not in motion; if you appear to be impaired while walking to your car, the police can stop you as soon as you put your keys in the ignition.

If you are approached by a police officer, you will be given a chance to submit to a preliminary Breathalyzer test. This will only be used to establish probable cause for arrest; it will not be used as evidence in court. If you are arrested, you may be given additional Breathalyzer or blood tests at the police station. Before arrest, you may also be required to perform a field sobriety test, such as walking heel-to-toe in a straight line or standing on one foot for about thirty seconds.

If your Breathalyzer results are above .08, or if you fail the field sobriety tests, you can be arrested and charged with OWI.


  • First time OWI: A fine of $150 – $300; license revoked for 6 – 9 months
  • Second time OWI: A fine of $350 – $1,100; license revoked for 12 – 18 months; 5 days – 6 months in jail
  • Third time OWI: A fine of $600 – $2000; license revoked for 2 – 3 years, 10 days – 1 year in jail

Contact Us

If you have been charged with drunk driving, the experienced Appleton OWI defense attorneys of Hart Powell, S.C. can help. Contact our offices at 414-271-9595.