These articles will provide a reminder and insight into many laws in Wisconins and ordinances. We hope these provide you with information on how to stay safe and learn more about our laws. For a list of all archived articles visit our Archived Articles List.
Child passenger restraint requirements vary based on age, weight and height. Often, this happens in three stages: infants use rear-facing infant seats; toddlers use forward facing child safety seats; and older children use booster seats.
Many laws require all children to ride in the rear seat whenever possible, and most states permit children over a particular age, height or weight to use an adult safety belt. First offense fines for not complying with a state's child passenger safety laws vary from $10 to $500. Some states also use driver's license points as an additional penalty for noncompliance.
The State of Wisconsin also has further laws on which way the infant seat must face depending on age of child and weight and height.
There is a $75 fine per incident per child in the vehicle that does not meet these requirements.
Contact the Washington County WI Health Department for information and free inspection.
Laws provide many tools to combat drunk driving. All states define drunk driving as operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. Most have increased penalties for higher BACs. Specific penalties and deterrents vary from state to state.
Administrative license suspensions allow law enforcement officers to confiscate a driver's license when the driver fails a chemical test. Some states only allow this if a driver refuses to submit to a chemical test to determine BAC. Several states grant limited driving privileges – such as driving to and from work – to drivers whose license has been suspended if the driver is able to demonstrate special hardship.
Recently, more states have been adopting ignition interlock laws, which require all or a portion of convicted drunk drivers to install interlocks in their cars. These devices analyze a driver's breath and disable the engine if alcohol is detected. Other penalties include vehicle or license plate sanctions.
Alcohol exclusion laws let insurance companies deny payment for treatment of drunk drivers' injuries. However, they have had the unintended consequence of limited doctors' abilities to diagnose alcohol problems and recommend treatment. Some states have repealed such laws.
Highlights of current state drunk driving laws include the following:
Wisconsin law further imposes vehicle and license plate sanctions which include: Impoundment, vehicle seizure/forfeiture. Wisconsin also has Open Container Laws and Repeat Offender Laws which meet Federal Requirements. Also Wisconsin has Alcohol Exclusion Laws limiting treatment.
Huber Law 303.08
Any person sentenced to a County Jail for a crime, non-payment of a fine or forfeiture, or contempt of court, may be granted the permission to leave the Jail during necessary and reasonable hours for any of the following purposes:
By order of the Court, the wages or salaries of the employed prisoners shall be disbursed by the Sheriff for the following purposes, in the order stated:
The Sheriff may refuse to permit the prisoner to exercise the prisoner’s privilege to leave the Jail not to exceed 5 days for each breach of discipline or violation of Jail regulations.
It is illegal in Wisconsin for a driver over the age of 21 to operate a motor vehicle:
For drivers with three or more prior Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) convictions, the limit is lower: they cannot operate a motor vehicle if their BAC is greater than 0.02.
Drivers under 21 years of age are required by law to maintain "absolute sobriety," and, for them, driving with any amount of alcohol in their system is illegal.
A driver is "under the influence" when his or her ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired. A person's ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired if he or she is less able to safely control the vehicle because of the consumption of alcohol or controlled substances.
This means that if a police officer pulls you over and determines that you are impaired by alcohol and/or any other drug, you could be arrested and prosecuted, regardless of your BAC.
Penalties for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated range from a forfeiture and license revocation for a first offense, to up to 6 years imprisonment, 3 year license revocation and possible seizure of vehicles for subsequent offenses. Additionally, more severe penalties apply if injury or death results.
But no matter what your legal status, it is always wise to avoid driving if you have been drinking.
A recent review of alcohol impairment studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concluded that impairment of some driving-related skills begins with even the smallest amount of alcohol in your system.
First Wisconsin OWI Offense
A first DUI in Wisconsin, also known as an OWI offense in the state, carries the potential of both criminal and administrative penalties, which suspend or restrict the driver’s license of a defendant. The following article outlines penalties applicable to first offense convictions for private adult drivers. The state of Wisconsin employs differing sentencing requirements for other first offense DUI charges, such as violations of zero tolerance laws by minors, DUI by commercial drivers, and for all drivers, enhanced administrative penalties in light of violating implied consent laws.
Major road construction that lasts for weeks and weeks. Emergency vehicles at the side of the road. A snowplow flashing its warning lights. The everyday garbage pickup. In Wisconsin, they’re all work zones.
Any time people are working in a street or highway near traffic, drivers and workers are at risk. Being able to identify the work zones up ahead can save lives. So learn the signs of a work zone: flashing lights, utility or emergency vehicles, orange signs, flags, barrels and cones. And, of course, people.
To protect themselves and others, drivers need to slow down whenever they see flashing lights, or move over, if possible, to leave the lane beside the work zone open. In some construction areas, lowered speed limits are posted and must be obeyed at all times.
Remember, when you enter a work zone, be patient. Worrying about the time and traffic won’t get you anywhere faster. Instead, slow down and pay attention to your surroundings. These tips can help you get in and out of a work zone safely:
In Wisconsin, we take work zone safety seriously. The penalties for careless driving are steep.
The fact is, people who work along Wisconsin’s roads are extremely vulnerable. But not every crash in the zone involves workers. In reality, drivers and their passengers are the most common work zone fatalities.
Driving safely protects people on the road and the people in your own car. Driving safely protects you. So follow the rules, follow the law. And be safer in the zone.
Information and recommendations are compiled from sources believed to be reliable. The Sheriff’s Office makes no guarantee as to and assumes no responsibility for the correctness, sufficiency or completeness of such information or recommendations. Other or additional safety measures may be required under particular circumstances. Last Revised: 6/2014