355 Austin Circle, Suite 110, Delafield, WI 53018
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Bucher Law Group, LLC

Milwaukee County OWI defense attorney

The state of Wisconsin remains the only state in the nation that does not criminalize first-time DUI offenses. Instead of it being a criminal charge, it is treated more like a traffic ticket. Drivers pay a fine, and while they do experience a six- to nine-month license suspension, they are also eligible for an occupational license immediately. Even so, law enforcement officials take operating while intoxicated (OWI) offenses rather seriously. That is why it is important to understand Wisconsin's Implied Consent law and how it affects sobriety tests in OWI traffic stops. 

Administering a Chemical Test

When a police officer pulls you over under the suspicion that you may be operating your vehicle while intoxicated (OWI), he or she will likely ask you what you have been doing and if you have been drinking. If anything about your conversation makes the officer think that you may be impaired, he or she may ask you to step out of the vehicle to conduct field sobriety tests, or you may be asked to take a portable breathalyzer test that will give an estimate of your blood-alcohol content (BAC). If the results of these tests or any other observations cause the officer to believe that you are intoxicated, you may be arrested. Upon your arrest, you will be taken back to the police station, where you will be asked to submit to an official chemical test to determine your blood-alcohol content (BAC). This is where you have a choice. You have the right to refuse the test, but you will face consequences if you do break the implied consent laws.

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Milwaukee County OWI defense attorney

Being arrested for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) is a serious offense. Although Wisconsin is known for having relatively lax OWI laws, you can still face significant consequences if you are convicted. Even if you do not face jail time, you can expect to pay a good amount in fines and surcharges, and you also face a six- to nine-month driver’s license revocation. In some cases, such as those involving multiple OWIs, penalties may include jail time, which could amount to months or even years behind bars. Hiring a skilled Wisconsin OWI defense attorney is one way you can increase your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome in your OWI case. Your attorney will look at your case as a whole and be able to tell you which defense strategy is the most appropriate for your situation. Below are a few common ways in which you can defend yourself against OWI charges.

You Were Pulled Over Unlawfully

One possible defense to an OWI charge is that you were not pulled over legally in the first place. Before law enforcement can initiate a traffic stop, they must have probable cause to do so. This means they must have reason to believe you were breaking the law before they stopped you. A police officer typically gains probable cause by witnessing a driver swerving or driving erratically, but if you did not do anything out of the ordinary, the officer may not have actually had a legitimate reason to pull you over.

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Milwaukee County criminal defense attorney OWI

Being accused of operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol (known as operating while intoxicated, or OWI) can have significant consequences. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon in the state of Wisconsin. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, there were nearly 30,000 OWI arrests in the state in 2015, with nearly 24,000 people receiving a conviction. Unlike most other states, Wisconsin’s penalties for a first-time OWI offense are somewhat lenient, but that does not mean the charge is not serious. What you do after your OWI arrest can affect the outcome of your case and many aspects of your life. Below are a few things you should avoid doing after you have been arrested for OWI in Wisconsin.

Ignoring Your OWI Charge

Believe it or not, some people think that ignoring an OWI charge will make it go away. While this is not true at all, it can also affect the outcome of your case. If you do not take any action in your OWI case, such as failing to show up to your court date, you could face additional charges and fines, in addition to the penalties for your OWI charge. 

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Waukesha County OWI defense attorney

Even though Wisconsin tends to be one of the most lenient states when it comes to operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, there are still serious consequences that you can face if you are convicted of these criminal charges. By far, one of the most aggravating consequences of a Wisconsin OWI charge is the fact that you can have your driver’s license suspended or revoked. If this happens, you will be unable to drive for a specified period of time -- unless you have what is called an occupational driver’s license. This type of license allows a person to continue to drive during a suspension or revocation period for certain reasons. Although it is not an ideal situation overall, an occupational license can help immensely.

Eligibility for an Occupational License

If your driver’s license has been suspended because of OWI-related charges, you may be able to have a temporary occupational license issued. In general, most people will qualify for an occupational license if their license has been suspended because of an OWI arrest. However, under the following circumstances, you may not be eligible to receive an occupational license:

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Waukesha County OWI homicide defense attorney

When it comes to drunk driving laws, Wisconsin is relatively lenient compared to other states. In fact, Wisconsin is the only state in the country in which a first-time DUI offense is merely a ticket, rather than a criminal charge. Even when a person reaches his or her second, third, or even fourth conviction of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI), the sentence typically does not involve jail time. Rather, probation is usually given to those offenders, even if their driving privileges were revoked. Jail time can be expected, however, if there are certain aggravating factors present in the situation to warrant a need for incarceration. Aggravating factors in a Wisconsin OWI case can include causing bodily harm or injury to another person, committing OWI with a child in the vehicle, or one of the most serious charges: homicide while committing OWI.

Charges for Homicide While Driving Under the Influence

In all 50 states, operating a vehicle while you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal. Adding an aggravating factor to OWI, such as killing another person, makes the charges even more serious. In Wisconsin, a person commits the offense of homicide by intoxicated use of vehicle when he or she causes the death of another person due to the handling of the vehicle while he or she was under the influence of alcohol or any type of drug, had a BAC of 0.08 or more, or if he or she had a BAC of 0.04 or more and was driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). 

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