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Can You Get an OWI for Marijuana in Wisconsin?


Wisconsin has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to driving under the influence of either alcohol or a controlled substance.

Many people are aware that driving under the influence of alcohol can lead to a DUI charge and other potential legal consequences, including jail time, fines, and license suspension or revocation. However, there is some confusion as to what law applies when it comes to marijuana.

To help you stay informed of your rights, our Baltimore criminal defense attorneys discuss what you need to know about operating a vehicle while under the influence (OWI) of marijuana.

When Would Police Test for Marijuana?

Any person who operates a vehicle in Wisconsin gives implied consent to having their breath, blood, or urine tested for alcohol or drugs. As a result, when law enforcement suspects a motorist of driving drugged, they reserve the right to pull the driver over and test the individual for Delta-9-THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.

There must be probable cause for a police officer to test a driver for marijuana. A few signs that police may look for when determining if there is enough evidence to test someone pulled over include:

  • Red eyes

  • Marijuana odor on the individual from the vehicle

  • Paraphernalia inside the vehicle

  • Decreased short-term memory

  • Slow reaction times

  • Lack of concentration

  • Decreased perception of time and distance

What Are the Penalties for a Marijuana OWI?

If even trace amounts of the substance are found in the person’s blood, they can be given an OWI charge, otherwise known as operating a vehicle while under the influence. Depending on potential repeat offenses, the following penalties may apply:

  • First Offense. Misdemeanor charge, a fine between $150 and $300

  • Second Offense Within 10 Years. A fine between $350 and $1,100, five days to six months of jail time, and license revocation of 12 to 18 months

  • Third Offense Within 10 Years. A fine between $600 and $2,000, between 30 days to one year in jail, and license revocation of 12 months to 24 months

  • Fourth Offense Within 10 Years. Felony charge, fine between $600 to $10,000, between six months and six years in jail, and license revocation of two years to three years


While other states have adopted more relaxed policies when it comes to marijuana driving laws, Wisconsin remains stringent on this matter. Therefore, you don’t want to go up against one of these charges without proper legal representation.

At The Law Offices of Jason D. Baltz, our legal team is equipped with the tools, resources, skills, and experience necessary to help you obtain the best possible outcome. Please don’t hesitate to reach out at (414) 375-0797 to begin protected your freedom and future today.

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