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Drunk Driving / DWI

Drunk Driving Arrest?

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To learn more about how to proceed after a drunk driving arrest. Check out the links below.

Drunk Driving: DWI Basics

In Wisconsin, a drunk driving offense is referred to as ‘DWI’ charges, which stands for ‘Operating Under Influence’. In every state, it is illegal for a driver to operate a motorized vehicle, whether it is a car, truck, motorcycle, boat, or commercial vehicle, while impaired by the effects of alcohol or drugs.

A person may be charged with an DWI if they are driving a motorized vehicle and their ability to safely operate the vehicle is impaired by the effects of alcohol, illegal drugs, prescribed medications such as painkillers, or even over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines; or if the driver is intoxicated at a level above established DWI standards, such as the prohibited blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) levels, which in Wisconsin is .08 for a first, second, or third offense and .02 for a fourth and higher offense or for those subject to ignition interlock device (IID) orders.

Field Sobriety and Chemical Tests for DWI

If a law enforcement officer stops a vehicle and suspects that the driver may be intoxicated, the officer may conduct a series of “field sobriety” tests on the driver, and may ask for his or her consent to some form of chemical test for intoxication.

Field sobriety tests usually involve a police officer asking a driver to perform a number of tasks that assess any impairment of the person’s physical or cognitive ability. Examples of field sobriety tests include having the driver walk a straight line, heel to toe; having the person stand on one leg for up to 30 seconds; and the officer’s use of the “horizontal gaze nystagmus” (eye and penlight) test.

OWI chemical tests can be conducted by using an Intoximeter (breath test machine) that measures a driver’s blood-alcohol concentration (BAC), or at a hospital, where urine and blood tests may be performed.


Attorney Stephen E. Mays practices in all areas of criminal and traffic defense throughout the entire State of Wisconsin. If you have been charged with a traffic violation or criminal conduct, call Mays Law Office – Click toll-free: (866) 257-0440  or contact us  Attorney Stephen E. Mays today for a free case review.