In addition to drunk driving, it is also illegal to operate a motor vehicle
with a prohibited alcohol concentration (PAC), commonly referred to as being over the limit. In Wisconsin,
the legal limit is determined by the type of offense. The prohibited alcohol concentration can be one of several levels: .00,
.02, .04, or .08. Zero tolerance (.00) applies to persons under the age of 21 years old. The
.04 applies to those drivers who are operating a commercial motor vehicle. For all other violations, the
rules are as follows:
In OWI 1st through OWI 3rd cases, the legal limit is .08%.
For those who have at least 3 countable prior offenses, the legal limit is .02%. NOTE: There is
a very strong push in the Wisconsin legislature to reduce the legal limit in OWI 3rd cases to .02%. Stay
tuned to see if that passes.
Additionally, there is a .15 requirement
for first offense cases in terms of the Ignition Interlock Device. That is, while being over .08 is a violation of operating
with a prohibited alcohol concentration statute, having an alcohol concentration of .15 or above would trigger the Ignition
Interlock Device requirements.
The alcohol concentration in your breath or blood
is usually measured in grams per 210 liters of breath or grams in 100 milliliters of blood. So a .23 would
be .23 grams of alcohol in 210 liters of breath or .23 grams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood. Both
blood and breath are the commonly used tests in Wisconsin. However, urine testing is also an option, but