The individual states are tasked with creating and enforcing drunk driving laws within their borders. This Wisconsin DUI defense blog focuses on Wisconsin drunk driving laws because they are the laws that apply to the area's residents. However, if Wisconsin drivers ever leave the state, they become subject to the laws of the jurisdictions in which they operate their cars.
It may be comforting to know that Wisconsin's drunk driving laws are, on their surfaces, quite similar to the laws of the other 49 states. For example, every state in the country has a .08 per se blood alcohol concentration limit. Per se BAC levels mean that if a person's BAC hits that threshold it can be assumed that the person is intoxicated.
Additionally, Wisconsin's zero tolerance law is comparable to the rest of the zero tolerance laws across the country. A zero tolerance law applies to drivers under the age of 21; no state permits underage individuals to drink and drive but the states do vary with regard to the threshold BAC that a young driver must have to be subjected to the law. In Wisconsin, that threshold is .02.
Finally, like the other 49 states in the country, Wisconsin is an implied consent state. Prior posts on this blog have discussed implied consent and have described the potential consequences a driver may face for refusing a breath test. Every other state in America follows this rule as well, so Wisconsin drivers should not face any surprises on that issue should they drive out of state.
Punishments for drunk driving crimes differ from state to state, but generally some of Wisconsin's drunk driving laws are similar to those of other states in the union. However, laws change and drivers should not rely on this basic analysis as legal advice. Readers should investigate the laws of the locations where they plan to drive to fully understand the legal expectations of those jurisdictions.