Impaired driving

Impaired driving in Wisconsin is...

Prevalent and deadly

  • There were almost 23,000 convictions for operating while intoxicated (OWI) driving offenses in Wisconsin in 2022.
  • Someone is injured or killed in an impaired driving crash every two hours in Wisconsin.

Expensive and embarrassing

  • Choosing to drive while impaired by alcohol or other drugs could be a decision you'll regret the rest of your life.
  • If you're arrested, you can lose your license and face significant fines.
  • Repeat impaired driving offenders face imprisonment.
  • If you hurt or kill someone in a crash you could face serious charges, like negligent homicide or OWI causing injury.
  • Refuse a blood/breath alcohol concentration (BAC) test and you will lose your license on the spot for at least one year and you may have your car impounded.
  • Wisconsin laws include mandatory installation of ignition interlock devices on all vehicles owned by anyone convicted of first offense OWI with an alcohol content of 0.15 or higher as well as second or subsequent offense OWI.
  • If you drive impaired with a child under age 16 in the vehicle, the penalties will double.
  • If you have two prior impaired driving convictions and have a BAC over 0.17, the penalties are multiplied.
  • OWI convictions can cost around $10,000, including fines, court costs, attorney fees, lost time at work, higher insurances rates, car towing and repairs, and more.

Entirely preventable

  • Choose a sober designated driver before you start drinking.
  • If you're feeling buzzed, you likely are over the 0.08 limit and should not drive.
  • Rather than risk an arrest, or even worse a crash, take mass transit, a taxicab or ask a sober friend to drive you home.
  • Save a life - don't let your friends drive drunk.
  • Some taverns and restaurants have programs to provide patrons with a safe ride home. Visit
  • Report impaired drivers to law enforcement or call 911.