4 Things to Know About BAC and Driving Over the Limit in Wisconsin

By Tedia Gamino

Blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, measures the percentage of alcohol that’s in your bloodstream. Nationally it’s illegal to drive with a BAC that’s 0.08 percent or higher. In Wisconsin, however, BAC limits are different, and can vary based on your age and record of any  driving under the influence convictions. 

Operating While Intoxicated Rules in Wisconsin

If you’re 21 or over, with no history of driving under the influence (DUI), it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle:

  • With a Blood/Breath Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or greater;
  • While under the influence of an intoxicant;
  • With a detectable amount of a restricted controlled substance in your blood; or
  • While under the influence of a controlled substance or any other drug.​

For drivers with three or more prior Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) convictions, the limit is lower.  If you have 3 or more prior DUIs, you, cannot operate a motor vehicle if your BAC is greater than 0.02.

Drivers under 21 years of age are required by law to maintain absolute sobriety.  If you’re underage, operating a motor vehicle with any amount of alcohol in your system is illegal.

How much alcohol can you drink and still be legal to drive?

Research shows that your liver can process approximately 0.6 oz. of pure alcohol per hour—that’s typically the average drink. Aside from how much you drink, and how quickly your liver processes it, these four important factors affect your BAC:

  1. Body weight
  2. Gender
  3. How much you’ve had to eat
  4. If you’re on meds

Let’s take a closer look at each BAC influencer.

#1. Body Weight

The thinner you are, the less water that’s in your system—the less your body is able to dilute the effects of alcohol. Also, the less muscle tissue you have the less your body is able to dilute alcohol, because muscle also contains water. So you have a greater chance of feeling intoxicated than someone else who’s had the same amount to drink, but has a higher body weight and muscle mass.

#2. Gender

Gender can have a significant impact on one’s BAC. When it comes to muscle and body fat, men and women have different percentages of each and this impacts their BAC levels because muscle contains more water than fat. Women’s bodies are also different in that they produce less of an enzyme called dehydrogenase, which breaks down alcohol.

#3. How Much You’ve Had to Eat

How much you eat influences your BAC. Food slows down the amount of alcohol that’s absorbed in your bloodstream, so if you drink on an empty stomach your body will absorb the alcohol faster and cause you to feel intoxicated quicker.

#4. If You’re on Medication

It’s never wise to mix medications with alcohol. Studies show that antidepressants, cough medicines, and other meds can intensify your body’s reaction to alcohol and cause your BAC to be higher than it would normally be.

Other Variables

Other factors influence your BAC, including:

  • How fast you drink
  • Your alcohol tolerance
  • The kind of alcohol you consume

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About an OWI, DWI, or a DUI charge?

If you’ve been charged with an OWI, DWI, or a DUI, call our office at 414-383-6700 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced defense attorneys who can provide the guidance you need.

By Attorney Tedia Gamino

By |2022-11-19T10:12:55-06:00November 26th, 2022|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on 4 Things to Know About BAC and Driving Over the Limit in Wisconsin

5 Traffic Violations That Lead to Car Accidents

By Tedia Gamino

Each year more than 32,000 people are killed and 2 million are injured in motor vehicle crashes, according to the CDC. In fact, every day 29 Americans die at the hands of drivers who are charged for DUI.

Avoid these five traffic violations that typically lead to car accidents:

  1. Distracted driving
  2. Speeding
  3. Road rage
  4. Running a red light
  5. OWI, DWI, DUI

Here’s a closer look at each violation.

#1. Distracted Driving

When driving, you should give the road and surroundings your undivided attention. Distracted driving is considered one of the top causes of car accidents in the U.S. Engaging in activities like texting, talking on the phone, eating, and grooming while you’re driving takes your focus away from the highway, and can lead to serious accidents.

#2. Speeding

You may speed for many reasons. You might be late for work or an appointment, trying to keep up with traffic, or even experiencing a personal emergency. Whatever the reason, speeding not only endangers your life, but the lives of others on the road.

Speeding in Wisconsin is on the rise. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison saw an increase in speeding when pandemic shutdowns in early 2020 substantially reduced highway traffic. By mid-2021, though, road traffic had climbed back to levels before the pandemic—but the average vehicle speed did not throttle back.

#3. Road Rage

Road rage can involve criminal intimidation or violence on the highway. One’s anger toward another motorist might result in tailgating, weaving in and out of lanes and causing near-collisions, making rude gestures, or even competing for a space in a parking lot. Road rage only makes driving conditions more unsafe.

#4. Running a Red Light

Although you may be in a rush, or think you can zip through an intersection when the light has just turned red, running a red light can prove to be a fatal traffic violation. Many motorists are killed or maimed each year by drivers who don’t obey red lights. So whatever your reason, running the light just isn’t worth risking your life and those of other motorists and pedestrians.


It’s always smart to avoid driving if you’ve been drinking. Even if you feel that you can get behind the wheel and safely drive home, or to another destination, driving after having even one drink is a bad idea because it can impair your judgement and ability to safely operate your vehicle. If a police officer stops you and determines that you’re impaired by alcohol, you could be arrested and prosecuted—no matter your blood alcohol content (BAC).

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About OWI, DWI, or DUI?

If you’ve been accused of OWI, DWI, or DUI, our team may be able to help you. Call our office at 414-383-6700 to schedule a consultation with an experienced Wisconsin drunk driving lawyer. We can answer your questions and give you the guidance you need.

By Attorney Tedia Gamino

By |2022-11-19T09:58:01-06:00November 19th, 2022|Criminal Law, Traffic Offenses|Comments Off on 5 Traffic Violations That Lead to Car Accidents


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