What Is an OWI? Why Did I Get Two Drunk Driving Tickets?
OWI is the term used in Wisconsin for drunk driving. Many other states use a similar term, DUI (which is why we use the term OWI DUI). OWI stands for "operating while intoxicated." These charges are very common. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, about 30,000 people are arrested for OWI in this state every year.
OWI (or DUI) is one of two types of drunk driving offenses. In some states, it is called the “common-law” offense. In an OWI case, the prosecutor must prove that because of the consumption of alcohol or drugs, you were unable to safely operate the vehicle. OWI does not require proof of a particular alcohol level, although it may be proved by an alcohol level over the legal limit, which is usually .08.
In Wisconsin, there is another type of drunk driving offense, called PAC. PAC stands for “prohibited alcohol concentration.” In many states, it is called “BAC” or the “per se” charge. In a PAC case, the prosecutor must prove that you were operating a motor vehicle (on a public roadway) with an alcohol level that was over the legal limit. PAC does not require proof of any impairment.
It is important to know that although the OWI and the PAC are two separate charges, you cannot be punished for both. Even if you are convicted for both, it only counts as one conviction and you can only be punished for one case. We often say that it is really two different ways of accusing you of one thing.
OWI DUI laws vary from state to state. In Wisconsin, OWI and PAC may be based on several things:
- Because of the consumption of alcohol, being unable to safely operate the vehicle, even if you are not above the legal alcohol limit (some people may be impaired even though they are below the limit).
- Having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08 percent or higher.
- Having a detectable amount of a restricted controlled substance in your blood. Restricted controlled substances include marijuana (delta-9 THC), cocaine, and heroin.
- Because of the consumption of medication or a combination of medication and alcohol, being unable to safely operate the vehicle.
Mishlove and Stuckert, LLC, is Wisconsin’s leading law firm in OWI DUI defense. We have the knowledge, skill, and experience to determine whether you were lawfully charged with an OWI DUI.