Wisconsin Department of Transportation

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Drunk driving arrests and convictions

During 2000, 38,324 people were arrested for Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) in Wisconsin, including 655 persons who were under 18. This compares to 35,753 OWI arrests in 1990.

Of the 9,135 drinking drivers involved in crashes in 2000, 1,251 (14%) were under age 21 and 7,347 were age 21 or older.

Of 30,592 drivers convicted of OWI in Wisconsin in 2000, 3,106 (10%) were under age 21 at the time of violation and 27,486 (90%) were age 21 or older.

Of the 36,530 OWI citations adjudicated in Wisconsin during 2000, 92% of the drivers were found guilty. This total included 5,176 cases where the driver refused the alcohol test. 93% of the people who refused the alcohol test were found guilty of OWI.

The median alcohol concentration (AC) test result for 2000 OWI citations was 0.17%.

Since 1990, the number of drinking drivers in crashes has declined 42% (from 13,730). In 1990, 2,135 (15%) of the 13,730 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 taken January 1, 2001 showed that:

  • 234,826 drivers had one OWI conviction
  • 34,435 drivers had two OWI convictions
  • 16,708 drivers had three OWI convictions
  • 5,250 drivers had four OWI convictions
  • 1,666 drivers had five OWI convictions
  • 557 drivers had six OWI convictions
  • 205 drivers had seven OWI convictions
  • 63 drivers had eight OWI convictions
  • 27 drivers had nine OWI convictions
  • 11 drivers had 10 OWI convictions
  • 7 drivers had 11 OWI convictions
  • 1 driver had 12 OWI convictions
  • 1 driver had 13 OWI convictions
  • A "typical" OWI offender is a 38-year-old male.
  • Of the 234,826 drivers with one OWI conviction in the driver history profile, 80% were male and 48% were between the ages of 25 and 39.
  • Of the 58,931 repeat offenders, 85% were male and 50% were between the ages of 25 and 39.

Questions about the content of this page:
Colette Brown, Colette.brown@dot.wi.gov
Last modified: January 15, 2014

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