Wisconsin Department of Transportation

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Drunk driving arrests and convictions

During 2012, 33,579 people were arrested for Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) in Wisconsin, including 385 persons who were under 18.

Of the 4,978 drinking drivers involved in crashes in 2012, 455 (10%) were under age 21 and 4,510 were age 21 or older.

Of 26,632 drivers convicted of OWI in Wisconsin in 2012, 2,154 (8%) were under age 21 at the time of violation and 24,478 (92%) were age 21 or older.

Of the 28,728 OWI citations adjudicated in Wisconsin during 2012, 93% of the drivers were found guilty. This total included 3,886 cases where the driver refused the alcohol test. 88% of the people who refused the alcohol test were found guilty of OWI.

The median alcohol concentration (AC) test result for 2012 OWI citations was 0.17%.

Since 2002, the number of drinking drivers in crashes has declined 44% (from 8.909). In 2002, 1,325 (15%) of the 8.909 drinking drivers in crashes were under age 21. (The minimum drinking age in Wisconsin was raised from 18 to 19 in July, 1984, and from 19 to 21 in September, 1986.)

A snapshot of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Division of Motor Vehicles Driver Record File as of December 31, 2012 showed that:

  • 413,754 drivers had one OWI conviction
  • 119,223 drivers had two OWI convictions
  • 46,539 drivers had three OWI convictions
  • 18,991 drivers had four OWI convictions
  • 8,088 drivers had five OWI convictions
  • 3,443 drivers had six OWI convictions
  • 1,340 drivers had seven OWI convictions
  • 502 drivers had eight OWI convictions
  • 210 drivers had nine OWI convictions
  • 87 drivers had 10 OWI convictions
  • 42 drivers had 11 OWI convictions
  • 16 driver had 12 OWI convictions
  • 6 driver had 13 OWI convictions
  • 3 driver had 14 OWI convictions
  • 3 driver had 15 OWI convictions
  • 2 driver had 16 OWI convictions

Questions about the content of this page:
Colette Brown, Colette.brown@dot.wi.gov
Last modified: April 29, 2014

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