When it comes to drinking and driving, the laws regarding this offense vary from state to state. Some states may impose harsher penalties for first-time offenders, and other states, like Wisconsin, may not even consider jail time a possible penalty for a first-time DUI offense. Because of these differences, it is important to understand the applicable laws when facing a DUI charge.
If you do face a charge for DUI in Wisconsin, you can still face significant penalties. One possible consequence of a DUI conviction is having to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. This punishment could result even after a first-time DUI offense if certain circumstances apply.
Ignition interlock devices
An IID works to prevent intoxicated drivers from operating a vehicle. After the installation of the device in your vehicle, you would have to provide a breath sample that registers below a certain blood alcohol concentration level before the device allows your vehicle to start. If your breath sample indicates that your BAC level exceeds the appropriate limit, the vehicle will not start. State law requires the installation of this device on vehicles under the following circumstances:
- When a person has committed multiple DUI offenses
- When a driver refuses to participate in breath or blood testing to determine BAC levels
- When a first-time DUI offender has a BAC level that reaches or exceeds .15 percent
Wisconsin has an implied consent law when it comes to BAC testing, which is why penalties can result if you refuse to participate in those tests. Additionally, in most cases, the installation of an ignition interlock device comes at no cost to the offender, but if your income level is 150 percent of the official poverty level, you have an obligation to pay half of the associated costs of installing the IID.
Avoiding an IID
If you do not want to have an IID installed on your vehicle, you may need to focus closely on your criminal defense in the event that an officer charges you with DUI. If the charge comes as a first offense and your BAC level did not reach .15 percent, you may not have to worry about this possibility. However, if any of the aforementioned stipulations apply, this outcome could potentially occur.
Fortunately, you do not have to resign yourself to any negative outcome from the get-go. Instead, you may want to remember your legal rights and work to determine what criminal defense strategies may work in your favor. Consulting with an attorney experienced in DUI defense may also help your case.