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Bucher Law Group, LLC
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Racine County OWI Defense AttorneyMost drivers understand that driving under the influence of alcohol or even recreational drugs can lead to Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) charges. However, there is less clarity when it comes to prescription drugs. Although many types of prescription drugs, including opioids, come with warnings against driving or operating heavy machinery after use, driving while under the influence of these drugs which can impair your ability to safely drive continues to occur. Given the serious charges which can result from an OWI conviction, it is essential to work with an experienced OWI defense attorney.

Field Sobriety Tests for Drugs

Wisconsin law prohibits operating a motor vehicle when under the influence of any controlled substance that renders a person unable to drive safely. For alcohol, this means having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of over .08 percent. The officer who stopped you can perform a breathalyzer test after you have been pulled over. With substances including marijuana, other drugs, and prescription medications, there is no equivalent field test. If the use of a substance other than alcohol is suspected, an additional officer may be called in. Some Wisconsin police officers are trained as drug recognition experts (DRE). The trained DRE will administer a series of tests to assess the subject. These tests include checking the subject’s pulse, examining their eye movements, performing tests to assess the subject’s level of attention, and testing vital signs, and other assessments.

If the DRE officer concludes that you may be under the influence of drugs, you will be arrested. Additional blood testing will be performed at the police station to substantiate the DRE’s conclusions. The DRE will also write a report of their interaction which can also be used as evidence. A combination of drug and alcohol use can also result in OWI charges, even if your BAC is below the legal limit.

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Walworth OWI Defense AttorneyFor drivers who have been stopped under suspicion of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI), whether or not to take the breathalyzer test on the spot can be a difficult and confusing decision. Once a police officer pulls you over, they may already have a suspicion that you have been drinking alcohol or are under the influence of drugs. From the time they approach your vehicle, they will be looking for signs of intoxication, including the smell of alcohol on your breath, the clarity of your speech, your balance, and the appearance and motion of your eyes. You should learn what you should and should not do in this situation and know that it is always essential to call an OWI defense lawyer as soon as possible.

Field Tests Versus Tests at the Police Station

While Wisconsin is an implied consent state, meaning you have given consent to chemical testing when you obtained your driver’s license, that only applies after an arrest. You do not have to submit to any physical field sobriety tests or take a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT). You are not required to answer any of the officer’s questions but must produce your license when it is requested and exit your vehicle if instructed to do so. If you do choose to speak with the officer, you must tell the truth.

Based on their field observations, the officer may choose to arrest you based on probable cause, including any erratic driving before being pulled over, the smell of alcohol on you or in the vehicle, or open containers of alcohol observed in the vehicle. Refusal to submit to field sobriety tests may also give the officer probable cause to arrest you.

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Walworth County Criminal LawyerWhile the legal drinking age in Wisconsin is 21, it is no secret that minors will break the law and consume alcohol. Many times, this drinking will be done at houses, parks, or other areas where the activity can occur discreetly. They may even try to drink at a bar or other establishment that serves alcohol with a fake ID. As a parent, it is best to know what the punishments for underage drinking and other juvenile crimes are, as well as the exceptions when underage drinking is allowed.

Penalties and Exceptions for Underage Drinking

If a minor is caught possessing or drinking alcohol and are between the ages of 17 and 20, they will face an underage drinking charge. Penalties for a first-time underage drinking conviction can include $250 to $500 in fines, a driver’s license suspension of between 30 and 90 days, and participating in community service work or another supervised work program. Minors under the age of 17 will face similar penalties, but will be charged as a juvenile. For both underage and juvenile offenders, trying to purchase alcohol with a fake ID will also result in fines, driver’s license suspension, and community service. Penalties for both underage and juvenile offenders increase with each subsequent conviction. Enrollment in a court-approved alcohol abuse education program may also be part of the sentence for any of the charges.

In Wisconsin, there are some exceptions both to entering an establishment that serves alcohol as well as drinking it on the premises. If the parent, guardian, or spouse of the person is present, a person under 21 can enter the premises of an establishment that is licensed to serve alcohol and can possess or consume alcohol. However, this permission is at the discretion of the establishment, and they can choose not to serve underage people.

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Jefferson County CDL Disqualification LawyerHolding a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) can increase your likelihood of getting and keeping a job. CDL holders undergo special training and must pass additional tests to qualify for various commercial endorsements on their license, including for hazardous materials, tanker vehicles, passenger buses, school buses, and double and triple trailers. To stay employed as a commercial driver, you must maintain your license. However, some violations will put your CDL at risk, whether you or driving a commercial vehicle or even your private vehicle.

CDL Violations and Penalties in Wisconsin

Some traffic violations may not lead to a CDL disqualification after the first offense but have cumulative effects with additional violations. These include:

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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