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Commercial Drivers License and DUI (OWI) in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, a driver of a commercial vehicle will be arrested and charged with OWI if they have a BAC over .04.  Commercial drivers are prohibited from consuming any amount of alcohol within 4 hours of driving.  Commercial drivers who are on duty will be arrested and charged if any detectable amount of alcohol is present in the driver’s system.   This differs from other non commercial drivers as the legal BAC for them is .08 percent.  The reason for this is that most people driving a commercial vehicle are doing so in the course of their job.  Officials want to reduce the risk of those drivers who are operating a vehicle in the course of work.  Another reason is that many commercial vehicles are large trucks, and any accident involving them would be worse than a regular car.

The Wisconsin statutes specifically states that no person may drive or operate a commercial motor vehicle while the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more but less than 0.08.  It also states that no person may cause injury to another person by the operation of a commercial motor vehicle while the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more but less than 0.08.  The person charged has a defense if it appears by a preponderance of the evidence that the injury would have occurred even if he had not been under the influence consumption of alcohol, a controlled substance, or a combination of the two to a degree which renders him incapable of safely driving or the driver did not have an alcohol concentration.  Additionally, Wisconsin’s statutes stipulate that no person may drive or operate or be on duty time with respect to a commercial motor vehicle under any of the following circumstances:

1. While having an alcohol concentration above 0.0.

2. Within 4 hours of having consumed or having been under the influence of an intoxicating beverage, regardless of its alcohol content.

3. While possessing an intoxicating beverage, regardless of its alcohol content.  This does not apply to cargo that is alcohol and is unopened and being transported as part of a shipment.


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