The State of Wisconsin takes drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs very seriously. That can mean that charges put you at risk of strict punishments. Fortunately, you're an adult with a long history without criminal charges. You have a good job, and you have positive references. There are affirmative defenses to DUI or OWI charges, so you can continue with the clean reputation you've always had.
1. You were under duress
This is more common than you may think. When you drive under duress, you are driving in order to avoid death or a serious injury. For example, if a person holds a gun to your head and forces you to get behind the wheel, you're driving under duress. Another possibility is if you drive because you're being attacked and escape, or if you flee a location to avoid something dangerous happening there. It's a good idea to show why you were driving under duress and to show you drove as little as possible to escape the dangerous situation.
2. You didn't realize you were intoxicated
It's certainly unusual not to know that you're intoxicated after throwing back a dozen beers in an hour or two, but it would not be unusual to make the mistake of thinking you're not impaired after taking a common medication. For example, if you take allergy medicine every day and never felt drowsy from it, you probably wouldn't think that you'd be tired or dizzy from the pill today.
Sometimes, the body reacts differently, though, and you may appear dizzy or even fall asleep at the wheel. You could be charged with driving while intoxicated, even though your medication didn't ever give you symptoms like these before. If you can show that you have no history of side effects or that you were unaware of the potential side effects of the drug, those facts can help your case.
3. You were drugged by someone else
Imagine going to a club and getting a drink. You are having a good time, and you look away from it. Someone slips a drug into your drink, but you didn't realize it. You are now suffering side effects from a drug that you didn't intend to ingest.
In another scenario, you head to a party where they have a punch bowl. You were told it had no alcohol in it, yet you are found driving home while drunk. You can argue that you did not drink and that your intoxication was involuntary.
These are just three potential defenses. Your attorney can help you decide what kind of defense works best in your situation.