In Wisconsin, any person operating a motor vehicle on a highway (which through case law case been defined as essentially every public roadway) is considered to have given their consent to be tested for the presence of intoxicants.  This is what is referred to as “implied consent,” which essentially means that by using the public highway you have given your consent to be tested through your actions.

When an individual refuses to submit to a test after being arrested for an OWI related offense, that person may be charged with a crime for their refusal.  Refusing to submit to a test has its own set of consequences.

Except in certain circumstances dictated by statute, an individual found to have improperly refused a chemical test will face a revocation of their driving privilege.  Depending on the number of prior refusals and individual has, they may become eligible for an “occupational license” after serving a portion of their revocation.  For example, an individual facing their first refusal becomes eligible for an occupational license after serving the first thirty days of their revocation.

An occupational license is a license granted to an individual for whom it is “essential that he or she operate a motor vehicle.”  However, this is not automatic, and the applicant must meet certain filing requirements. If an individual refuses a chemical test on subsequent occasions, the revocations and waiting periods for an occupational license become longer.