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Bucher Law Group, LLC

Dodge County Criminal Defense LawyerWhether you are taking a cross country road trip, a weekend getaway, or just on your regular commute to work, the roads during the summer season present the risk of accidents and the resulting injuries. Car accidents, speeding and reckless driving, and operating while intoxicated all carry the risk of criminal charges. By taking steps to drive safely, you and your family can enjoy the drive and have a fun summer.

Avoid Traffic Violations in Wisconsin

By driving safely, planning ahead, and maintaining your vehicle, you can help to prevent potentially dangerous situations. Here are some tips to staying safe on the roads.

Drive safely – It is good advice throughout the years to slow down, obey the speed limit and traffic signals, and watch out for other drivers on the road. Limit the distraction in the car while you are driving so you can concentrate on the road and the vehicles around you. Construction zones are more common during the summer too, and they can present dangers such as narrow lanes, reduced speeds, construction workers, and slow-moving construction vehicles. Failure to follow the rules of the road can lead to speeding and reckless driving charges, and in more serious cases felony use of a motor vehicle or even homicide charges involving the use of a motor vehicle.

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WI DUI lawyerWisconsin has what are called implied consent laws. By getting a driver’s license in our state, you implicitly agree to cooperate with chemical testing following a DUI test. This rule does not apply to field sobriety testing, however. Drivers are free to refuse to perform field sobriety testing, however, doing so may not protect you from getting arrested for DUI anyway. It is important to understand how refusing field sobriety testing and refusing chemical testing could impact your case and your driver’s license. If you were arrested on suspicion of DUI, it is important to find an experienced attorney who handles this type of case.

What Happens if I Refuse to Perform Field Sobriety Tests?

You should know that you are not legally obligated to perform field sobriety tests. In some cases, refusing field sobriety testing can actually help your case. Field sobriety tests are essentially an effort by police to gather evidence against you. By performing the tests, you could inadvertently incriminate yourself should you appear intoxicated during them.

However, you should be aware that you could still get arrested on suspicion of DUI. The police officers could use other types of evidence to establish probable cause to take you into custody. Things like the smell of alcohol on your breath, slurred speech, or bad driving could give the police probable cause. However, without field sobriety tests suggesting intoxication, the state will have less evidence to go on.

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Ozaukee County DUI Defense LawyerA conviction for drunk driving can have significant legal and financial implications. Operating while intoxicated (OWI) can lead to fines and loss of your driver’s license. Second and subsequent OWI convictions are penalized even more harshly. Some OWI offenses even result in jail time. If you or a loved one were accused of drunk driving, it is important to explore your legal options.

How to Defend Yourself Against an OWI or DUI in Wisconsin

Being accused of a crime like drunk driving or drugged driving does not necessarily mean you will be convicted of the offense. As with all criminal charges, the prosecution must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. An experienced criminal defense attorney may use many different tactics to cast doubt on your guilt or prove your innocence.

Understanding Probable Cause in a DUI Case  

Police do not have free reign to pull over drivers for no reason. Officers must have a reasonable suspicion that the driver has committed a crime. For example, if police see you run a red light or weave in and out of traffic, they have the right to pull you over. If police pull over a driver without a valid reason for doing so, any evidence obtained during the traffic stop may be inadmissible under the exclusionary rule. Evidence, such as the results of a breathalyzer test, would be unusable during future legal proceedings.

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Walworth County DUI Defense AttorneyDrunk or intoxicated driving is taken very seriously by law enforcement officials. A person who is arrested and charged with operating while intoxicated (OWI) can face serious consequences, including the requirement to pay fines and court costs, as well as the loss of their driver’s license for a significant period of time. In some cases, a person may also be sentenced to time in prison. There are certain circumstances where OWI may be charged as a felony, and a person will face even more serious penalties. An experienced attorney can help determine the best defense strategy in felony OWI cases.

Felony Drunk Driving Charges

In Wisconsin, a first-time OWI is a civil infraction rather than a criminal charge, and a second or third OWI is a misdemeanor, although a third OWI may be charged as a felony if a minor under the age of 16 was in the vehicle. Any subsequent OWI will be charged as a felony. A fourth OWI is a Class H felony, and a conviction can result in a prison sentence of 60 days to six years, as well as a fine of $600 to $10,000. A fifth or sixth OWI is a Class G felony, and a person who is convicted may be sentenced to between one and 10 years in prison and fined between $600 and $25,000. A seventh, eighth, or ninth OWI is a Class F felony that can result in a sentence between three and 12.5 years and a fine of up to $25,000. A tenth or subsequent OWI is a Class E felony, and a person may receive a sentence of four to 15 years and be fined up to $50,000.

Felony OWI charges may also apply in cases where a person was involved in an accident that resulted in injuries to others. While a first offense of causing injury while OWI will be charged as a misdemeanor, a person may be charged with a Class H felony if they had previously been convicted of OWI or had refused a chemical blood alcohol test after being arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. If a person caused great bodily harm to someone else, meaning that the victim suffered an injury that put them at significant risk of death, caused disfigurement, or resulted in the loss of a body part or organ, Class F felony charges will apply. An OWI that results in a person’s death may be charged as a Class D felony, which can result in a prison sentence of up to 25 years and a fine of up to $100,000. If a person had a previous OWI conviction or chemical test refusal, a charge of homicide while OWI is a Class C felony, and a person may be sentenced to up to 40 years in jail.

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OWI Defense Attorney Dodge CountyDrivers in Wisconsin and throughout the United States understand that it is illegal to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Doing so may result in an arrest by a police officer and charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI). Drivers who have been pulled over and are suspected of driving while intoxicated will want to understand their rights and the steps they can take to protect themselves from consequences. Tests used to measure a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) are one issue that these drivers may need to address, and it is important to understand whether a person can refuse these tests or whether they should consent to testing.

BAC Tests and Implied Consent

In Wisconsin and other states, drivers are considered to have given consent to chemical testing of their BAC when they obtained a driver’s license. This means that a driver could potentially face consequences for refusing to take a BAC test. However, it is important to understand that the implied consent law applies to tests that are performed following an arrest rather than to roadside tests performed by a police officer prior to an arrest.

After an officer pulls someone over, they will be looking to establish probable cause, or a legal reason to perform an arrest. In some cases, an officer may decide to arrest a driver based on their observations before or after pulling a person over, such as erratic driving, the smell of alcohol on a driver’s breath, or open containers of alcohol that are visible in the vehicle. In other cases, the officer may ask a driver to breathe into a portable breathalyzer device that will give an estimate of their BAC, or a driver may be asked to step out of the vehicle and perform field sobriety tests that are meant to gauge their level of intoxication. Drivers are allowed to refuse these tests, although doing so may be seen as an indication that a driver has been drinking and is afraid to take a test, and this refusal may provide an officer with probable cause to arrest the driver.

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