Operating with PAC Charges in Wisconsin: What You Need to Know
Operating with a PAC: Wisconsin Drivers Beware
Operating a vehicle while intoxicated in Wisconsin puts you face-to-face with a standard double whammy charge. A drunk driving arrest for an OWI gets citations for:
- Operating While Intoxicated
- Operating with a Prohibited Blood Alcohol Content (PAC) or Operating with Controlled Substance (OCS)
What does PAC mean in Legal Terms?
The PAC abbreviation translates to a prohibited alcohol concentration level violation. This charge is separate from an Operating While Intoxicated violation (OWI), but is commonly paired with a PAC in Wisconsin.
Charged with an OWI? Criminal or not, you may still get stuck with TWO charges for ONE incident.
The first charge, and the one people expect to get, is Operating While Intoxicated (OWI). This means someone who was driving their vehicle was too impaired to be operating it safely.
An OWI charge is NOT concerned with blood alcohol concentration.
An OWI is based on the officer’s observations on whether they think the driver can safely operate a motor vehicle given their condition. This is a very standard charge, and it will come with the same penalties as the PAC.
The PAC charge, or Prohibited Alcohol Concentration, targets drivers who are driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more.
An Operating with PAC charge does not take into account whether somebody is driving their vehicle safely, it is merely based on their blood alcohol concentration. If someone is driving their vehicle and they have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more, they will receive this charge along with the OWI. Many people who receive an OWI citation will receive a PAC citation as well. This means that the person was too impaired to be operating their motor vehicle safely, and that their blood alcohol concentration was at or above .08. Some examples we’ve seen:
- A Wisconsin driver with a 2nd OWI and 1st PAC
- Someone operating with PAC of .10 or more
- A person charged in WI of operating with PAC for the 3rd, 4th, or 5th time
The good news? You can only be sentenced to ONE of these charges.
By law, if someone is charged with both OWI and PAC and convicted of one of these charges, the other charge must be dismissed within a number of days. The penalties, however, are the same.
What this means is that someone convicted of an OWI receives the same penalties as someone convicted on a PAC charge. A PAC conviction reads the same on someone’s driving record as an OWI, and it will count the same.
You are only guilty if you are convicted™
Milwaukee’s DUI attorney Tom Grieve can help YOU
It’s important to work with an attorney who understands the differences between these two charges. If you have been charged with an OWI and a PAC, or just one of the two, contact Grieve Law and talk to a great team of experienced attorneys who can walk you through everything there is to know about Wisconsin’s OWI law.