355 Austin Circle, Suite 110, Delafield, WI 53018
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262-303-4916

Bucher Law Group, LLC

OWI Frequently Asked Questions

Mukwonago drunk driving defense attorney FAQ

Waukesha County Criminal Defense Lawyer Answering FAQs About DUIs

1. Do I have the right to an attorney?

In Wisconsin, a first offense for Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) is a civil matter and not a criminal case. Therefore, you do not have a constitutional right to counsel. However, we strongly advise that you contact a DUI defense attorney to review the circumstances of the traffic stop, the arrest, and the blood alcohol concentration level.

2. What is an "IID"?

An IID is an Ignition Interlock Device which detects alcohol in a driver's breath. When an IID is installed in a driver's vehicle, the driver must blow into the device prior to starting the vehicle, and if the device registers any alcohol, the vehicle will not start. Under current Wisconsin law, all repeat OWI offenders or first-time offenders with a blood alcohol concentration in excess of .15% must have an IID installed in their vehicle for a period of at least one year.

3. Am I going to lose my license? If so, for how long?

In Wisconsin, if you take a blood or breath test, and it shows that your blood alcohol level is in excess of the legal limits, you will receive a Notice of Intent to Suspend Operating Privilege. You have the option to request an Administrative Hearing with the Department of Transportation within 10 days of receipt of the Notice, or 13 days if the Notice was mailed to you. This is an administrative suspension, and it is different from any suspension or revocation that the Court may impose. If you do not request an administrative hearing, or you requested the hearing but have lost the review, your license will be suspended for six months. However, in most cases, you are immediately eligible for an occupational license.

4. Do I need to report a drunk driving arrest to my insurance company?

The answer is generally "no." However, if there was a collision involving injury, death, or property damage that you do not wish to pay for out of your own pocket, you should notify your insurance carrier. If there were no injuries or damage, there is no requirement under Wisconsin law to report the incident to your insurance carrier (bear in mind, however, that the police or the property owner may contact your insurance carrier). If you wish to obtain an occupational license, you must obtain a SR-22 (insurance bond) prior to applying for the occupational license, but you can obtain this coverage through most insurance providers – you are not required to obtain this bond through your present insurance carrier. Bear in mind that your insurance provider will likely learn of the DUI charge at some point in time.

5. The officer questioned me without reading my Miranda rights. Do I have a case?

Miranda is a complicated issue that deals with interrogation of suspects in custody. It only applies to criminal cases, and there are many exemptions. General road questioning is exempt, as is booking information. However, an interrogation at the police department in a criminal case does require the administration of the Miranda warning for any statements to be admissible.

6. The officer asked me to take a field sobriety test, which included a breath test. Am I required to submit to these tests?

Absolutely not. Remember that when the police make a traffic stop, they are gathering information and evidence during every second of the stop. The officer may be trying to determine whether there is alcohol emanating from your breath, monitoring your speech, or watching your eyes and balance. Every movement and statement you make is being closely monitored and likely recorded. You are not required to speak to an officer, but you must produce your driver's license and exit the vehicle when requested, and any statement you choose to make must be truthful. However, you are under no requirements to perform any physical field sobriety test. In addition, you are under no requirements to take a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT), which is administered with a small device that is used at the scene of a traffic stop.

7. Do I need to take the breath or blood test at the police department after my arrest?

That depends. The general answer is: yes, you should. In many jurisdictions, if you do not submit to the test, you will be cited with an additional charge of "refusal" that carries a much heavier penalty in terms of driver's license revocation, installation of an IID, and a waiting period for an occupational driver's license. Even if you refuse a test, the police may be able to conduct what is termed a "forced blood draw" to obtain your blood sample. While refusal places you in a more difficult position, there are situations where a refusal may be in your best interests, depending on a variety of factors. If you have any questions, contact a DUI/OWI lawyer.

8. When should I consult my attorney?

You should consult with a criminal defense attorney at Bucher Law Group, LLC as soon as possible upon your arrest. If you have the opportunity to make a telephone call while at the police station, please contact us immediately at 262-303-4916, and we will assist you. If not, the minute you are released, you or a family member should contact our office, and we will immediately place in motion certain actions that may reduce your liability and assist you in your defense, especially if it is a serious case involving a vehicle crash resulting in injury or death.

9. OK, this sounds great – but how much will this cost me?

Our fees depend upon the nature of the case and whether it is civil or criminal. Every lawyer in Wisconsin charges different rates, and there are lawyers who will "low ball" their rates – which should raise a red flag. There are also lawyers who might quote exorbitant costs on a flat fee, which should also raise a red flag. You should always personally meet with your legal counsel and engage in a written agreement. Generally, Bucher Law Group, LLC, charges an initial retainer for a non-criminal OWI at approximately $1,500, with an hourly rate. For criminal DUI cases, the initial retainer would likely be in the area of $2,500 - $3,000, with an hourly rate. More serious cases – such as those involving injuries or death – will obviously vary, but they will likely be in the area of an initial retainer of approximately $5,000, with an hourly rate.

Bucher Law Group, LLC has extremely competitive rates and, most importantly, we are one of the few firms in the Milwaukee County area with the experience dealing with all civil and criminal OWI cases. Our legal staff has over 100 years of combined experience, and we have a firm grasp on the traffic and criminal laws that impact your future and your insurance rates.

You should not hesitate to contact the lawyer of your choice, but we would encourage you to contact our Delafield law office at 262-303-4916 to schedule a free 45 minute initial consultation with one of our experienced DUI defense lawyers.

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