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Bucher Law Group, LLC

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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Waukesha Lawyer for OWI defenseDriving under the influence, which is known as Operating While Intoxicated or OWI in Wisconsin, is a serious criminal offense, and a conviction can lead to significant fines, the revocation of a person’s driver’s license, and a prison sentence. While most people understand the dangers of driving after drinking alcohol and the consequences they may face for doing so, some may not realize that they can face the same charges if they drive while under the influence of marijuana or certain types of prescription drugs, such as opioids. By understanding how Wisconsin law addresses these situations and working with an attorney who is experienced in defending against these types of charges, a driver can determine their best options for defense following an arrest for OWI involving marijuana or other drugs.

Wisconsin OWI Laws Regarding Drugged Driving

The laws in Wisconsin define a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 percent as the point at which a person is considered to be intoxicated. They also state that a driver cannot operate a motor vehicle if they have any amount of a controlled substance that can be detected in their bloodstream. These substances include marijuana, as well as other drugs and prescription medications. In addition, the law states that it is illegal for a person to drive if they have used any intoxicant or combination of substances that would cause them to be unable to operate a vehicle safely. This means that even if a person has a BAC below the legal limit, they could still face OWI charges because the combination of alcohol with other drugs impaired their ability to drive safely.

While the laws regarding the use of controlled substances while driving are clear, these cases may be complicated by the fact that it is not always easy to determine whether a driver is intoxicated because of these substances. After pulling a driver over on suspicion of OWI, a police officer may ask them to submit to a portable breathalyzer test to get an estimate of their BAC and determine whether they are over the legal limit. However, there is no equivalent test to determine whether a driver has marijuana or other restricted substances in their system.

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Waukesha Lawyer for CDL DisqualificationsWhile traffic tickets can be troublesome for any driver, they can be especially problematic for drivers of commercial vehicles. These drivers are required to complete additional training and pass a variety of tests to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL), and maintaining a valid CDL is necessary to be able to continue working in this profession. Because of this, commercial drivers will usually be looking to avoid any activities that could threaten their CDL and their livelihood. Drivers should be aware that certain traffic violations could lead to the disqualification of their CDL, meaning that they will be unable to drive a commercial vehicle while their license is disqualified.

Wisconsin Traffic Violations and CDL Disqualification

The most common violation that could lead to a CDL disqualification is drunk driving, which is referred to in Wisconsin as Operating While Intoxicated or OWI. Commercial drivers have a lower limit than other drivers for the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that they can have while driving. If a driver has a BAC of .04 percent or higher when operating a commercial motor vehicle, they could not only face OWI charges, but they will also be subject to a one-year CDL disqualification. A three-year disqualification will apply in cases involving a HAZMAT violation in which a person was transporting hazardous materials.

Commercial drivers will also be subject to a one-year CDL disqualification if they are convicted of OWI while driving a non-commercial vehicle. A second OWI conviction in any vehicle will result in a lifetime CDL disqualification.

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