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What does operating with PAC mean in Wisconsin?

Operating with PAC (Prohibited Alcohol Concentration) Lawyer

When you are arrested for drunk driving in Wisconsin, you will be charged with a OWI (DUI and DWI in other states). While you are familiar with an OWI, a PAC may be on your ticket. You may be wondering what does PAC even mean? Download our free PAC and DUI forms below to follow along!

Operating with PAC (Prohibited Alcohol Concentration) is a charge based solely on your blood alcohol content. This is often connected to your OWI that you have received. A PAC charge means that you were caught operating a motor vehicle and your BAC was above the legal limit .08. Keep in mind if you cannot be penalized for both OWI and PAC.

According to Wisconsin law, drivers over the age of 21 may not drive with a blood alcohol content greater than 0.08. There is a zero-tolerance limit for those under the age of 21. For commercial drivers, the BAC limit is set at 0.04.

After a third OWI conviction, your PAC changes to 0.02. So even though you may be driving with a BAC level below 0.08, you may still be violating your PAC of 0.02. For most people, 0.02 is generally one drink or less.

What typically happens with a PAC charge?

  1. The first thing that happens is that you get a OWI citation. You may be asked to take a blood or a breath test. If you take a blood test you may receive a PAC ticket later as this takes more time. If you take a breath test the PAC will often be issued immediately.  
  2. They will issue the citation for a PAC. Law enforcement will give you a notice of suspension and you will receive a 10 day notice to show up in court.
  3. The good news is that you can only be convicted for one, the other charge should be dismissed. 

Our Expertise

Our law firm will review any DUI or Traffic cases, explain what those charges mean, and advise you on your best legal options. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and get the best representation you need in your unique circumstances.

Please use this guide provided by wicourts.gov to help you understand the consequences you are facing and what to do next.

OWI with PAC

An OWI Charge is based on the police officers observation that your consumption of alcohol or other substances have impaired your ability to operate a motor vehicle. You can be found guilty on both charges, but cannot be penalized for both. For a first time PAC offense you may be looking at fines around $150 – $500.

What are the penalties for PAC charges in Wisconsin?

The consequences for PAC and OWI charges are the same in Wisconsin. 

  • 1st offense PAC
    • No jail time unless there were other outside factors such as:
      • causing an accident.
      • Injury.
      • Transporting a minor under the age of 16.
    • The fine can be between $150 and $300.
    • 6 to 9 month license suspension.
    • Mandatory installation of an IID (Ignition interlock device).
  • 2nd offense PAC
    • Jail time ranging from 5 days to 6 months in jail.
    • A fine between $350 and $1,000.
    • 12 to 18 month license suspension.
    • Mandatory installation for an IID (Ignition Interlock Device).
  • 3rd offense PAC
    • At minimum 45 days in jail with a sentencing up to 12 months.
    • Mandatory fines from $600 to $10,000 along with court fees and a driver improvement charge of $365 to $435.
    • A license revocation for a stretch of 2 to 3 years. 
    • Mandatory sobriety program or have an IID installed in your car for the same duration to get your license back.
    • After a 3rd OWI/PAC conviction, your PAC changes to 0.02 instead of 0.08
  • 4th offense PAC and beyond
    • Jail time up to 15 years in prison.
    • There will be a mandatory minimum fine of $600 and a maximum fine of $25,000. 
    • Permanent revocation of drivers license.

What happens if you fail to appear in court?

If your case is a criminal case and you fail to appear at the initial court appearance, a warrant will be issued for your arrest.  Make sure to contact a specialized traffic attorney that understands Wisconsin’s point demerit system well.

How to fight my PAC charge

Facing a PAC charge might appear straightforward, and the prosecution will definitely try to make it seem that way. But there are numerous ways to cast doubt on the evidence against you.

For instance, you can question the accuracy of the breath test. The devices cops use to check your BAC during a traffic stop, like the widely used Intoximeter EC/IR II, often have known problems. Even blood tests, though more precise medically, can have procedural errors that impact their reliability. Below are some strategies you can employ:

Challenging the Breath Results: The machine might not be set up correctly or used properly. Additionally, the officer doing the test might not be trained properly or lack the proper qualifications. Sometimes, other cops might not handle the breath sample correctly. It is important to mention that certain health issues like diabetes or acid reflux can impact the test results.

Challenging the Blood Test Results: With blood tests, there are strict rules for how the samples are handled. If anyone messes up following the rules, it could mean the results aren’t trustworthy. Problems with how the sample was stored or who dealt with it can sometimes even suggest tampering. Everyone involved in handling the blood, from collecting it to checking it, needs to be qualified. Just like with breath tests, certain health problems can mess with the results.

We do recommend that you hire a Dui Defense Attorney but we also want to share this information with you.

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