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Milwaukee County OWI defense attorney

It is generally known that if an individual has a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher, he or she is legally intoxicated. Throughout the United States, a .08 BAC is designated as the legal threshold for drunk driving, although each state may enforce its own laws to prohibit driving under the influence. In Wisconsin, a motorist may be arrested for Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) regardless of his or her BAC. If you or a loved one has been arrested for an OWI charge, it is important to immediately seek help from an experienced criminal defense attorney regardless of your circumstances.   

Determining if a Driver Is Impaired 

Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal in Wisconsin for drivers of any age. To be considered “under the influence,” a driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle must be impaired. In order to reach this conclusion, a police officer may ask you to participate in field sobriety tests if he or she suspects you are intoxicated. Although these tests may be politely declined, not participating may give an officer probable cause to arrest you. This means that if an officer stops you, and he or she believes that you are impaired by alcohol or drugs, you can be arrested and prosecuted for OWI, even without your BAC even being tested.

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Milwaukee County drunk driving defense lawyer

When you are stopped by a police officer it is because he or she believes that you have been driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it can be a daunting experience. If the officer already suspects that you are intoxicated before you are even pulled over, the entire interaction will be to determine whether or not there is sufficient evidence to place you under arrest for OWI. Once the officer approaches you, he or she will be using his or her senses to determine whether or not you are impaired. The officer will be looking for bloodshot eyes, unsteady hand movements, slurred speech, unusual statements, and the smell of alcohol or other drugs. He or she will likely ask you to step out of the vehicle to complete field sobriety testing, which will be used to establish probable cause for an arrest. But how accurate are those tests, and can the results be challenged?

What Is a Field Sobriety Test?

Field sobriety tests are conducted during a traffic stop to determine whether or not a person who is driving is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. There are many different types of field sobriety tests, but there are only three different standardized field sobriety tests. These include:

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Milwaukee County OWI defense lawyer

Getting pulled over by a police officer for any reason is an intimidating experience. When you are stopped because an officer suspects you may be driving while you are intoxicated, it can be even more nerve-wracking. Experiments have shown that most people will obey commands from law enforcement just because the police officer is wearing a uniform, but not every command from a police officer must be followed. In certain situations, you have the right to refuse commands, which can sometimes benefit the outcome of your case. It is important to understand your rights if you are pulled over on suspicion of operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) in Wisconsin. 

Right to Remain Silent

The United States Constitution states that all American citizens have the right against self-incrimination. This means you have the right to remain silent and not answer police questions when you are stopped for a traffic violation. One of the most common questions that officers ask when they stop someone is, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” If you answer yes to that question, you are basically admitting your guilt. The best thing to do is to reply to that question with, “No, officer, I do not know.”

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Waukesha County OWI defense lawyer

Drinking alcohol is a large part of American culture, especially for younger people. Not surprisingly, those age groups are also the ones who are at a higher risk of being involved in drunk driving accidents. According to the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 11,000 people died in alcohol-related traffic crashes in 2017. The NHTSA also states that the most effective way of stopping drunk driving accidents is through preventing them from occurring in the first place. Here are a few tips that you can use to make sure you do not find yourself being charged with Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) in Wisconsin:

  • Make sure you have a designated driver. Before you even leave for the night, you should make sure you have a designated driver in place. This person should agree not to drink alcohol and promise to drive everyone home at the end of the night.

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Waukesha County DUI Defense Attorneys

Police officers in Wisconsin must have substantial evidence to actually arrest someone for operating while intoxicated (OWI). There are a few things an officer may use to do this, and one common procedure is to request the completion of field sobriety tests, so they can gauge whether a driver is intoxicated while driving. 

The types of field sobriety tests used can differ from state to state, and sometimes between police departments and jurisdictions, but in general, a battery of three standardized tests is used. These tests are approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as being accurate a majority of the time:

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