Being charged with an OWI in Wisconsin is no laughing matter. Not only can you lose your driving privileges, but it can also be a huge financial burden on your family.
If you get a second conviction you will more than likely find yourself spending some time in jail and having a mandatory ignition interlock device installed on any vehicle that is registered in your name.
Not only is this inconvenient, but it can negatively affect the lives of all of your family members.
Understanding How You Will Be Charged
In the state of Wisconsin an OWI charge is charged as two different offenses. First you will be charged with an OWI or issued a citation.
Second, depending on the level of your blood alcohol concentration, you will either be charged with operating a motor vehicle with a prohibited alcohol concentration (PAC) or you will be issued another citation.
Note a PAC charge is not dependant upon your level of impairment. Whether or not you can safely operate your vehicle doesn’t matter.
Initially you will receive both charges. However, you will only be sentenced or face penalties for one charge.
6 Common Defenses Against an OWI Charge
When defending an OWI charge your defense needs to be very aggressive. You need an experienced lawyer such as Jessie Weber who understands this type of case and knows the different avenues that can be explored.
Here are the 6 most common defenses when it comes to defending an OWI charge:
Challenge The Stop
The first line of defense in this type of case is to look into the reason the officer decided to pull you over.
Did the officer have a legitimate reason for making the stop?
If the officer is not able to prove probable cause the judge may have all evidence against you suppressed.
Challenge The Accuracy of The Chemical Test
If you took a breath test or a blood test and your BAC levels were over the legal limit, that does not necessarily mean your case is a lost cause.
Those tests are administered using machines that can malfunction. Challenging the accuracy of the tests can open the door for a careful review of the records.
If mistakes are found that could result in the test being thrown out.
Challenge The Way The Officer Performed The Field Sobriety Test
The three standard field sobriety tests are the One Leg Stand, the Walk and Turn, and the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test.
Each test must be conducted in the exact way the officer was trained. Each test gives you an opportunity to challenge whether or not the officer administered said test in a legal manner.
The Blood Alcohol (BAC) Defense
Just because your blood alcohol level is above the legal limit of .08 does not mean your case will automatically be lost.
An argument can be made that your blood alcohol level was below the legal limit at the time the test was administered.
This defense is based on the absorption rate of alcohol and has been proven to be a successful argument.
Challenge The Decision To Arrest
Anytime an officer pulls you over he or she must have probable cause. Well the same applies to making an arrest.
An officer can’t arrest you just because they want to. They need probable cause to no only make an arrest, but to also administer a PBT.
If your attorney can successfully argue the officer didn’t have probable cause to arrest you then some of the evidence from the case may be suppressed.
No Witness To Driving Defense
This might sound crazy, but some officers have been known to cite you for an OWI even if they haven’t witnessed you driving the vehicle while intoxicated.
This usually happens when the officer notices you passed out on the side of the road. In this type of situation the breath test will not carry the same weight as it would if the officer actually witnessed you driving while intoxicated.
A good defense attorney may be able to get the results thrown out all together.
What To Do If You Are Charged For An OWI
The most important thing for you to do is stay calm. Always remember anything that you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
Just because you are charged with an OWI does not mean you will be convicted of that charge. That’s why it is so important you contact an experienced OWI lawyer as soon as possible.
This website is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal advice. Please do not act or refrain from acting based on anything you read on this site. Using this site or communicating with Jessie Weber Law, LLC does not form an attorney/client relationship and any email communication sent through this website is not considered confidential under the Wisconsin Supreme Rules. Please review the full disclaimer for more information.