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What To Do If You Are Charged With OWI In Wisconsin

Have you been arrested and charged with OWI in Wisconsin? Do you think the charges you face are unfair or unjust? If you are wondering where to find an experienced OWI attorney who can help you avoid the serious penalties that are likely to be imposed in an OWI conviction, our firm can help. Our lead attorney at Cafferty Law Office, S.C. has more than 20 years of legal experience. He has also successfully defended countless clients facing DUI and OWI charges.

Our first piece of advice to clients in this type of situation is to exercise their legal rights. Even though you may feel you were wrongfully charged, do not waste your time trying to talk your way out of a criminal charge. Do not offer to give the police a statement without first speaking with your attorney. Never waive your right to counsel. Exercise your right to remain silent and have an attorney present during any and all questioning.

Consequences of Refusing a Breath or Blood Test

Under Wisconsin’s implied consent law, drivers are required to submit to breath and blood tests in the event they are ever pulled over for a suspected DUI or questioned about OWI, so long as the officer has probable cause. Breath and blood tests are commonly used by law enforcement officers to determine a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and whether he or she is breaking the law.

While these tests can be refused, refusal carries serious consequences. Refusing to take the tests can result in:

  • A one-year license revocation for a first-time offense
  • A two-year license revocation for a second-time offense, providing the first offense occurred within the past 10 years
  • A three-year license revocation for a third-time offense, providing the prior offenses each occurred within 10 years of each other

There is no reason to subject yourself to additional penalties unnecessarily. These tests are not as accurate as officers would like you to believe. If procedures are not followed precisely, tests are not administered properly, the testing device is faulty or there are other discrepancies, your attorney may be able to get your test results eliminated as evidence. There are numerous factors that can contribute to a high BAC, and a failed breath or blood test never guarantees a conviction.

Wisconsin OWI Offenses and Penalties

Drivers do need to realize that OWI is a serious offense in Wisconsin. The circumstances surrounding your arrest, the number of prior arrests or convictions you have, as well as various other factors, will determine the types of OWI charges and penalties you may incur. It does not matter whether you are pulled over for drunk driving or an officer found you sitting in your vehicle along the side of a road, if you have a BAC of 0.08 percent or more, you could be facing OWI charges and penalties.

First-time offenders: Penalties for a first offense OWI conviction include fines up to $300 (plus a $365 OWI surcharge), as well as the revocation of your driver’s license for six to nine months.

Second-time offenders with no prior OWI in the past 10 years: Penalties for a second OWI offense are the same as those for a first-time offender.

Second-time offenders with a prior OWI in the previous 10 years: Penalties for this type of second OWI offense include up to $1,100 in fines, a $365 OWI surcharge, between five days and 180 days in jail, driver’s license revocation for up to 18 months and more.

A fourth OWI conviction, and any subsequent OWI conviction, is filed as a felony charge. Additional fines, incarceration time and other harsh penalties may be enforced in cases where the accused has a history of OWI, a minor under the age of 16 is in the vehicle at the time of arrest or the driver has caused serious injury in an alcohol-related accident.

Hire an Aggressive and Experienced Wisconsin OWI Attorney

Retaining the counsel of a skilled OWI attorney as soon as possible following your arrest is one of the most effective ways you can fight back. It does not matter whether your charges stemmed from an error in judgment, an innocent mistake or other factors or circumstances that led to charges being filed against you. Our team is committed to seeing justice served, and we will relentlessly pursue the best result for you as our client.  You have rights, and we are here to help you protect those rights. Contact our law office today to find out what to do next. The earlier we are contacted the higher the chances of a positive outcome.