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Bucher Law Group, LLC

What You Should Know About Wisconsin OWI Traffic Stops

Posted on in Drunk Driving

Milwaukee County criminal defense attorney

Everyone knows that it is against the law to drive while you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Operating a vehicle while intoxicated in Wisconsin not only puts you at risk of being arrested for OWI, but it also puts everyone else on the road in danger. Statistics show that driving while impaired is not only dangerous but deadly. According to the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were nearly 11,000 deaths due to drunk driving in 2017, accounting for almost 30 percent of all traffic deaths. If you are ever stopped for the criminal offense of OWI, it is important to know the process in order to make sure your rights are protected.

What Are the Steps in an OWI Stop?

Police officers are trained to spot impaired driving and will usually have a pretty good idea if a person is driving under the influence or not. Being pulled over by the police is nerve-wracking for anyone, but getting stopped by police because they suspect you of drunk driving can be even more anxiety-inducing. Here are a few things to expect if you are pulled over for suspicion of OWI:

  1. Police must have probable cause before they can pull you over. This means they cannot just pull you over for no reason or because they “had a hunch.” They must have witnessed some sort of erratic driving behavior that would lead them to believe you were intoxicated. They can also pull you over for any other traffic violation.

  2. The officer will begin the OWI traffic stop just like any other traffic stop. That is, he or she will begin by asking you for your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance.

  3. If the officer suspects that you are impaired, he or she will likely ask you if you have been drinking and how many drinks you have had. While you should not lie to the officer, you are allowed to politely decline to answer any questions. 

  4. The officer may conduct field sobriety tests if he or she believes you have been drinking. He or she will ask you to step out of the vehicle and perform a variety of tests, such as walking in a straight line or standing on one foot. The officer might also ask you to provide a preliminary breath sample to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC).

  5. While you are not legally required to submit to either field sobriety tests or a roadside breathalyzer test, refusal to do so may be considered probable cause to arrest you on suspicion of OWI. 

  6. If the officer gathers enough evidence against you, he or she will place you under arrest for OWI. You will be taken to the police station where personnel will conduct another, more accurate chemical test to determine your BAC. If you refuse to take a chemical test, you face a one-year driver’s license suspension with the requirement that you have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in your vehicle.

Contact a Waukesha County OWI Defense Lawyer 

Although Wisconsin’s first-offense DUI laws are somewhat lenient compared to other states’ laws, they still carry stiff penalties. If you are convicted of OWI for a first offense, you will face hefty fines and possible driver’s license suspension. If you have been arrested for OWI, you need help from a skilled Milwaukee County drunk driving attorney. At the Bucher Law Group, LLC, we can help you fight an OWI charge by examining your case and looking at all of the circumstances surrounding it. Call our office today at 262-303-4916 to schedule a free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://wisconsindot.gov/Documents/safety/education/drunk-drv/owi-penchrt.pdf

https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812630

 

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