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Bucher Law Group, LLC

Waukesha County OWI defense lawyerMany adults like to enjoy an alcoholic beverage or two when they spend time with friends or go out to eat. However, those beverages could get you into trouble if you are not careful. In all 50 states, it is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In Wisconsin, OWI penalties can be expensive, especially if you have to pay other costs, like for an ignition interlock device (IID). During a traffic stop, police officers will constantly be looking for evidence or anything that can prove that you were, in fact, driving while you were intoxicated. If you are pulled over for OWI, you should know that you have rights.

Rights During an OWI Traffic Stop

While you may feel helpless when you are pulled over by police, it is important to realize that you do have rights that you can exercise that may protect you if you are charged. Some of the most important rights include:

  • Right to Remain Silent: Even during a traffic stop, you have the right to remain silent. The only information that you are required to give to the police is your identification. You do not have to answer questions about what you have been doing and where you are heading. If you wish to invoke this right, you should inform the officer.

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Milwaukee County criminal defense attorney OWI

Being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in Wisconsin carries stiff penalties regardless of the situation. However, operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) with a child in the car can incur even harsher penalties. Drunk driving is estimated to cause over one-third of traffic fatalities in Wisconsin. Sadly, many intoxicated driving accident victims are children. Because of this, Wisconsin has instituted enhanced penalties for OWI offenders who have a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle.  

OWI With a Minor Passenger in Wisconsin

The severity of the penalties someone faces for drunk driving varies significantly depending on the driver’s history. First-time OWI offenses usually only result in civil penalties. The offender must pay a fine and cannot drive for a license revocation period of up to nine months. However, if a driver has been charged with OWI in the past and is arrested for a second or subsequent OWI, he or she may face criminal consequences.

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Milwaukee County criminal defense attorney OWI

When you are stopped for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Wisconsin, you will generally be given a breathalyzer test, and its results will then be used as evidence to determine whether you should be charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) or not. However, what many are not aware of is that very often, breathalyzer test results are inaccurate. If you believe this has happened in your case, an experienced DUI defense attorney can help you ensure that your rights are protected. 

Several Reasons for Error

There are several different possible reasons that a breathalyzer test could be inaccurate. Some include: 

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Racine County criminal defense attorney OWI

If you have been arrested and charged with operating while intoxicated in Wisconsin, you probably have several questions. You may be unsure of whether you will lose your driving privileges, be required to install a breath ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle, or face jail time for drunk driving. The answers to these questions depend on the circumstances of the offense, whether or not you avoid conviction, your past criminal history, and other factors.  

What Is an IID?

An ignition interlock device is a device used to measure the amount of alcohol in someone’s breath. This information is then used to determine the person’s blood alcohol content (BAC). Once an IID is installed in a vehicle, the ignition will only engage after the driver submits a passing breath sample into the device. If the driver’s breath does not contain alcohol, the car will start normally. If the driver’s breath does contain alcohol, the vehicle will not start. There are many myths surrounding how to “cheat” an IID. However, IIDs are carefully calibrated, sophisticated devices that cannot be tricked. Using breath mints, eating certain foods, and other strategies for cheating an IID do not work.

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Milwaukee County criminal defense attorney OWI

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), passengers account for nearly 30 percent of fatalities in accidents involving drunk driving. While an adult may knowingly make the decision to get in a car with an intoxicated driver, children often have little choice in the matter. For this reason, OWI with a passenger under the age of 16 is a very serious offense in Wisconsin, and you should be aware of the potential consequences if you or someone you know has been arrested for this crime.

Penalties for OWI With a Child in Wisconsin

In general, the possible penalties for an OWI conviction in Wisconsin vary depending on the number of prior convictions on the offender’s record and the harm the offense has caused to other people. For example, a first offense typically results in only a fine of $150 to $300 and a revoked driver’s license for 6-9 months, whereas a fourth or subsequent offense, or one resulting in great bodily harm or death, can result in serious felony charges, with penalties that can amount to up to $100,000 in fines, up to 40 years in prison, and a revoked license for 5 years beyond the confinement sentence in the most serious cases.

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