OWI Defense Q & A

If you have a valid license from one state, you may use it in other states that you visit. But, if you make a permanent move to another state, you’ll have to take a trip to the local department of motor vehicles to apply for a new license. Usually, you must do this within 30 days after moving to the new state. Most states will issue your new license without requiring tests, though some may ask you to take a vision test and a written exam covering basic driving rules.In some situations, you may be unsure as to whether you need to apply for a new license. If you make frequent business trips to another state, or even if you attend school in a state away from home, there’s no need to get another driver’s license. But, when you set up housekeeping in the new state and pay taxes there as well, it’s time to apply.
Adults who visit another state may rely on their driver’s licenses, but the same may not be true for young drivers. The driving age varies significantly from state to state (from 15 to 18), and a state that makes people wait longer to drive may not honor a license from a state that issues licenses to younger folks. For example, New Jersey issues licenses to 17-year-olds and will recognize a license from any other state if the driver is at least 17. But a 16-year-old who is legally permitted to drive in New York may not be allowed to drive in New Jersey. A young driver who plans to drive in another state where the legal limit is above his or her age should call that state’s department of motor vehicles to find out what the rules are.
Forty-eight states belong either to an agreement called the “Driver’s License Compact” or the “Non-Resident Violator Compact.” (The only states that don’t belong to one or the other are Michigan and Wisconsin.) When you get a ticket in one of these states, the department of motor vehicles will relay the information to your state — and the violation will affect your driving record as if the ticket had been given at home.For example, if you live in Minnesota or Illinois, just have a Minnesota or Illinois driver’s license and get an OWI in Wisconsin. You will be sentenced under Wisconsin law for the punishments (fine, license revocation, jail, etc.). Wisconsin will contact your home state’s DMV within a week to share the news and your license at home will be revoked for that amount of time. However you will need to deal with your home state’s department of motor vehicles to get your license back. In addition you will need to deal with your home state’s DMV rules in getting an occupational license. Though Wisconsin DMV rules allow you to get an occupational license, sometimes, immediately after receiving an OWI citation, you will have to wait months in Minnesota or Illinois for the same thing.
Many countries, including the United States, have signed an international agreement allowing visitors to use their own licenses in other nations. Before traveling to another country, contact its consulate office or embassy to find out whether your license will be sufficient; you can find the phone number in your telephone book’s white pages under the name of the country. Or, you can visit the U.S. State Department website at http://travel.state.gov.In addition, you may want to obtain an “International Driver’s Permit,” issued by the American Automobile Association. This document translates the information on your driver’s license into ten languages. Many countries require the permit, not because it meets their requirements for a license, but because it is a ready-made copy of the important information on your American license.Finally, if you intend to stay in another country for an extended period of time, you should check with the consular office to find out whether you’ll need to apply for a license in that country. Every country will have its own rules about when a “visit” turns into something more permanent.
Driving a car is considered a privilege — and a state won’t hesitate to take it away if a driver behaves irresponsibly on the road. A state may temporarily suspend your driving privileges for a number of reasons, including: driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs refusing to take a blood-alcohol test driving without liability insurance speeding reckless driving leaving the scene of an injury accident failing to pay a driving-related fine failing to answer a traffic summons failing to file an accident report In addition, many states use a “point” system to keep track of a driver’s moving violations: Each moving violation is assigned a certain number of points. If a driver accumulates too many points within a given period of time, the department of motor vehicles suspends her license. If you have too many serious problems as a driver, your state may take away (suspend) your license altogether. If this happens, you’ll have to wait a certain period of time before you can apply for another license. Your state may deny your application if you have a poor driving record or fail to pass any required tests. Finally, a few states revoke or refuse to renew drivers’ licenses of parents who owe back child support. Wisconsin is one of them.
You’ll probably be arrested. Driving with a suspended or revoked license is usually considered a crime that carries a heavy fine and possibly even jail time. At worst, it may be a felony; you could end up in state prison or with an obligation to perform many hours of community service.The penalties will probably be heaviest if the suspension or revocation was the result of a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OWI).
Studies show that, as a group, older drivers drive less than younger drivers, but they have more accidents per mile. Elderly, unsafe drivers who continue to drive despite the advice of family and friends often do not come to the attention of the state until the inevitable — the driver is stopped for erratic driving or, worse, he or she is involved in an accident. A few states try to screen out unsafe older drivers by requiring more frequent written tests. But the added tests don’t always identify unsafe driving habits.All licensing departments accept information from police officers, families, and physicians about a driver’s abilities. If a licensing agency moves to cancel someone’s license as the result of an officer’s observations, an accident, or the report of family members or a doctor, the driver usually has an opportunity to protest.
If you are arrested, is in your best interest to comply with the police officer’s orders, but utilize your right to remain silent. Resisting arrest will only complicate the matter and any violent act against a police officer will result in a felony charge. You do not have to answer any of the police officer’s questions and, although it may be tempting, you should avoid making any statements in your defense until you have spoken with an attorney.Anything that you say can be used against you in trial. Making statements without the guidance of an attorney will only help the prosecution to build a case against you. If you are facing criminal charges, contact the Milwaukee criminal defense lawyers of Kohler & Hart to help you through this stressful time.
You can, but you’ll be charged with a Refusal citation,which is worse than an OWI and you are giving up a possible defense that you were not legally intoxicated (especially if you just had medications in your system or a combination of meds and a small amount of alcohol). After you have been stopped, if law enforcement can show probable cause that might substantiate possible impairment (hence the field sobriety tests) then you “implicitly consent” to a chemical test of your breath or blood. Moreover, the appellate courts have approved of drawing blood against a suspect’s will under certain circumstances. That is, if you refuse you may be strapped down and the blood drawn anyway (unfortunately the “Oh I’m afraid of needles” is not going to work) Police officers are required to inform you of your rights before conducting the blood/breath test. Errors in the administration of the test can be used in your defense and faulty breathalyzer results can lead to the dismissal of your charge, however blood tests are much tougher to overcome. Submitting to a breath/blood sample gives your attorney somewhere to start on a defense. Don’t let the opportunity go by and really mess up your case.
You do not have the right to consult an attorney prior to deciding whether you will voluntarily submit to a chemical test. One of the allowances law enforcement has is to obtain a blood or breath sample within a timely observation period of the probable suspicion of driving impairment. Law enforcement certainly is not going to wait until your lawyer shows up to haul you to the station or hospital for a breath or blood sample.Do yourself a favor. Read the Q&A section of this website before you go out and have a good time. If you do find yourself in the unfortunate position of getting pulled over with a few beverages under your belt, find out what to do and not to do.
It usually is in your best interest to comply with the police officer’s orders (except the “Tell me what happened” or “Do you want to make a statement”). Resisting arrest will only get you in further trouble and any violent act (such as a push or kick) against a law enforcement officer will result in more charges. As a general rule you don’t have to answer any questions. Though tempting when the officer says, “We can clear this up and all go home if you tell me what happened” realize that, yes, you might go home but essentially you may have just shot yourself in the foot when it comes to the charges you are about to face. Odds are you will be facing something. Anything that you say can be used against you in trial so don’t damage your case. BE CURTEOUS and INVOKE YOUR RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT.
Operating While under the Influence of an Intoxicant or more commonly referred to as an OWI in the State of Wisconsin In the State of Wisconsin there really isn’t much room for negotiations on the sentence recommendations the State will make, unlike a criminal defense case. The State takes a look at your prior number of OWI or drunk driving convictions, your B.A.C. level, if you caused damage during the course of the operation of the vehicle and recommend accordingly per a set of pre-set parameters called the Judicial Guidelines. Each area of the state is in a judicial district and the guidelines for each district are different. Therefore if you got an OWI 3rd with a B.A.C. of .17 in Milwaukee County and the same in Chippewa County, the sentences could very well be different.In addition most counties have a program called the Intoxicated Driver Intervention Program (or called something very similar to it). It is a program that teaches a person appropriate use of alcohol when dealing with driving. Traditionally successful completion of the course results in a significant reduction of one’s jail time and/or fine. Additionally it is important to note that all OWI convictions including an OWI 1 st with a B.A.C. of .15 or more require an Ignition Interlock Device. Basically it’s a device where you need to blow into it repeatedly in order to start and keep your car going.Please click on the dialog box located to the right and select the county in which you’re currently being charged. If you have any questions, PLEASE CALL US. Basically if you went without an attorney, this is the offer the State is probably going to give you. Attorneys at The Mullen Law Group love taking OWIs because we get the privilege of trying most cases to a jury or to the judge. In all reality you’ve got little to lose. For the most part, the only way you’re not going to get sentenced to some form of this offer is winning your case. We love to win cases and, unlike some generous settlement deal in normal criminal defense cases, a win in a DUI/OWI case is when a jury or judge says “Not Guilty”.
Prosecutors must prove that, “While operating a motor vehicle on a public highway (the definition of a public highway is quite broad…it even includes a frozen lake) in the State of Wisconsin, the defendant was under the influence of an intoxicant (another broad term including but not limited to medications, restricted controlled substances a.k.a. drugs and, of course, alcohol).The State of Wisconsin holds that being “under the influence of an intoxicant” there is a zero tolerance level when it comes to having illegal drugs in your system. Therefore in you smoke a joint on Monday and it stays in your system for a week, when you drive to work on Friday, you possibly could be found guilty of an OWI. The State must show that you operated a vehicle while impaired. Normally the permissible alcohol limit of .08 (if you’ve had more than 3 OWIs, the permissible level jumps from .08 to .02) must be proven by the State AT THE TIME OF OPERATING THE VEHICLE. It is not illegal to have alcohol in your system when you operate a vehicle, just alcohol in your system to the point of impairment (.08 or higher).
When it comes to the amount of alcohol in your system, this can be used as a defense or a sign of intoxication. For example, if you had a “strong one for the road”, consumed it immediately before you drove and were picked up soon after driving, your B.A.C. or Blood Alcohol Content might very well be lower than the statutorily required .08 level, giving you a great defense. If you had a B.A.C. of .35 and drank one for the road, your defense is probably not going to work. Call us to find out if your case lends itself to such a defense or not. This is known as the “Alcohol Curve Argument”.The area of medications is gray. If you have a properly prescribed amount of medication in your system taken in the amount and time frame ordered by your doctors, this is an affirmative defense. However taking properly prescribed medication outside of the doctor’s specific orders is not and can be used by the State as grounds for intoxication. Another very popular defense is the “I wasn’t driving” stance. This is a fact-driven defense and can be verified through witness testimony or the videos from the squad cameras. This can be a tough defense because of witness/defendant credibility however can be and has been done by this firm successfully.These are just a few of the more popular defenses. Call us today and sit down with one of our attorneys for free. We’ll let you know in all honesty if your case is worth fighting or not There are new defenses that come out every day and we take pride in knowing about them and how to prove them successfully in court.Before just “writing your situation off” and pleading guilty, call us. Even if you decide not to hire us, you’ll be much more prepared leaving our office than you are before you call.
Key: Operating While under the Influence (OWI) driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI). It’s illegal to drive a car while “impaired” by the effects of alcohol or drugs (including prescription drugs). This means that there must be enough alcohol or drugs in the driver’s body to prevent him from thinking clearly or driving safely. Many people reach this level well before they’d be considered “drunk” or “stoned.” In all states, an adult who has a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08% or above is guilty of an OWI (operating under the influence), DUI (driving under the influence) or DWI (driving while intoxicated). However, almost all states consider drivers under the age of 21 to be driving under the influence of alcohol if their BAC is at or greater than .01%.
Police typically use three methods of determining whether a driver has had too much to drink to be driving (intoxicated), or is under the influence of drugs: Observation. A police officer will pull you over if he notices that you are driving erratically — swerving, speeding, failing to stop, or even driving too slowly. Of course, you may have a good explanation for your driving (tiredness, for example), but an officer is unlikely to buy your story if he smells alcohol on your breath, or notices slurred words or unsteady movements. Sobriety tests. If an officer suspects that you are under the influence, he will probably ask you to get out of the car and perform a series of balance and speech tests, such as standing on one leg, walking a straight line heel-to-toe, or reciting a line of letters or numbers. The officer will look closely at your eyes, checking for pupil enlargement or constriction, which can be evidence of intoxication, and will judge your ability to follow exact instructions. If you fail these tests, the officer may arrest you or ask you to take a chemical test. Blood-alcohol level. The amount of alcohol in your body is understood by measuring the amount of alcohol in your blood. This measurement can be taken directly by drawing a sample of your blood, or it can be calculated by applying a mathematical formula to the amount of alcohol in your breath or urine. Some states give you a choice of whether to take a breath, blood, or urine test — others do not. If you test at or above .08 % blood-alcohol concentration, you are presumed to be driving under the influence, unless you can convince a judge or jury that your judgment was not impaired and you were not driving dangerously. Defense attorneys often question the validity of the conversion formula when driver’s alcohol levels are based on breath or urine tests.
You may refuse to take a chemical test (breathalyzer, blood test, or urine test) during an OWI, DUI or DWI stop, but almost every state has a so-called “implied consent” law that says a refusal can result in suspension of your driver’s license from anywhere between three to 12 months. (This is true even if you’re eventually found not guilty of the drunk driving/driving under the influence/driving while intoxicated charge.) Further, if your drunk driving case goes to trial, the prosecutor can tell the jury that you wouldn’t take the test, which may lead the jury members to conclude that you refused because you were, in fact, intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.
The answer depends on where you live. In Wisconsin, for example, you don’t have the right to speak with an attorney first before you decide whether to take a breath, blood, or urine test. But some states, including Arizona, allow you to talk to your lawyer before you take a chemical test.
Sometimes. Whether a police officer has to read you your rights on an OWI, DUI or DWI stop depends on whether or not you are in police custody — that is, whether you are subject to the restraints common to a formal arrest. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the police do not have to provide Miranda warnings during roadside questioning of a motorist detained pursuant to a traffic stop. Thus, roadside questioning about your drinking, drug-taking, or performance on field sobriety tests does not constitute “custodial interrogation.” However, once you are arrested – – or restrained by the police in a manner consistent with arrest — you must be read your Miranda rights.
Defending against a charge of drunk driving is a tricky business. Defenders need to understand scientific and medical concepts, and must be able to question tough witnesses, including scientists and police officers. If you want to fight your drunk driving/driving under the influence/driving while intoxicated charge, you’re well advised to hire an attorney who specializes in these types of cases.These days it is hard to “win” a drunk driving case, assuming the police gathered some physical evidence against you (results of a breathalyzer, blood test, or urine test). And the punishments for an OWI are pretty standard. If you were truly guilty, there’s no guarantee that a lawyer could get you a better deal or plea bargain than you can get for yourself.