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Wisconsin drunk driving attorney, Wisconsin defense lawyerIn 2014 alone, there were more than 24,000 OWI convictions in the state of Wisconsin. Some of those convictions were for repeat offenders who had at least one other prior conviction, which likely lead to increased penalties. A man recently arrested on his sixth OWI charge and facing felony charges shows just how severe repeat OWI conviction penalties can be. In turn, his case shows the importance of high quality legal representation for any and all OWI arrests.

Felony Charges for Man Arrested on Sixth OWI

According to the Chicago Tribune, a driver called the police and reported that they were following a reckless driver. Allegedly weaving all over the roadway, the driver eventually stopped at a restaurant where police apprehended him and took him into custody. Because the man has five prior convictions (1999, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2007), prosecutors requested that his bail be set at $250,000 to reduce his risk of release before trial. If convicted on the charges he is facing – an enhanced Class 3 felony – he could face up to 30 years of imprisonment without the option for probation.


Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyer, Milwaukee drunk driving attorneyIf you are pulled over and the police suspect you are operating your vehicle under the influence of alcohol, you will likely be asked to perform field sobriety tests. The three tests most commonly used by law enforcement in Wisconsin and nationwide to determine if you are operating your vehicle while intoxicated (OWI), in order of reliability are; the horizontal gaze nystagmus, the walk and turn, and the one leg stand. If administered properly, each test can help law enforcement determine if a driver is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs,.

The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN)

An HGN test is the most accurate of all of the field sobriety tests, with a 77 percent accuracy rate in detecting high blood alcohol content (BAC). Nystagmus means involuntary jerking or bouncing of the eyeball, with pupils appearing to be pulled back towards the center of the eye. This can be caused by several things, most notably alcohol use. It can also happen as a result of certain drugs that depress the central nervous system. The higher the concentration of blood or alcohol in the blood, the more noticeable the nystagmus is.

Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyer, Milwaukee drunk driving attorney, DMVEverybody makes mistakes from time to time, and when there is alcohol involved, mistakes are more likely. One major mistake that Wisconsin residents often make leads to an OWI charge (operating while intoxicated). If you have been arrested for OWI, it is very important to act quickly and retain an experienced OWI lawyer to help you avoid serious consequences. An important early step in this process is to request an administrative hearing after your arrest. Notice of Intent to Suspend Operating Privileges If you are arrested for OWI in Wisconsin, you will receive a pink notice, which is titled Notice of Intent to Suspend Operating Privilege. That notice shows your test results from a breathalyzer test or chemical test, and is a temporary (30 day) driver’s license. Accompanying the notice is a yellow form titled Administrative Review Request. This is how you receive notice of your right to request an administrative hearing. What Is an Administrative Hearing? If a breathalyzer test is administered at the scene of your arrest, then your Notice of Intent to Suspend will be provided to you at the police station. That means you have only 10 days to submit your Administrative Review Request and request an administrative hearing. If, however, you are given chemical tests at the time of your OWI, it may take two to three weeks for the results to be returned. Once the results are returned to the police, you will be mailed your Notice of Intent to Suspend, and you will have 13 days from when it is mailed to request an administrative hearing.  It is very important you request an administrative hearing; if you do not do so, you might lose your license before your court date for OWI has arrived. What Will Happen at the Administrative Hearing? Once the Administrative Review Request is submitted, the DMV will contact you or your attorney to schedule the review within 30 days. Your hearing will be held at the DMV that is closest to the scene of your arrest, and an employee of the DMV serves as prosecutor, judge, and jury over your case. The DMV employee will look at all of the evidence presented, including whether the traffic stop was legal, if there was a reasonable belief that you were intoxicated and probable cause to arrest you, whether all tests were properly administered, whether you were driving a commercial vehicle or private vehicle at the time of your arrest, and whether you have a valid THC prescription (or a valid prescription for any other drug for which you tested positive on a chemical test). This is just a sample of what is looked at, and if there is any other evidence relevant to the hearing, your lawyer will submit it at that time. What Happens If You Lose the Hearing? Losing the hearing means losing your license. Even if you later win at trial, or the charges are later dismissed, you will lose your driving privileges if you lose your administrative hearing. All hope is not totally lost if you do not prevail at this hearing, as another hearing can be requested to challenge the outcome. Not requesting the administrative hearing guarantees you lose your license until your trial. What Happens If You Win the Hearing? Winning the administrative hearing might be temporary, but if you win, you get to keep your license for now. This is important, as it allows you to keep driving to work, school, or wherever your responsibilities require, and minimizes disruption to your routine and the routine of your loved ones until it is absolutely necessary. Of course, there is always a possibility that your charges are dismissed, lowered, or you prevail at trial, which means that by winning the administrative hearing, you will never face the daily disruption of license suspension. If you are later convicted at trial, you will lose your license for the statutory period, but at least in the interim, you get to keep driving as long as possible if you prevail in your administrative hearing.

If you are facing OWI charges, don’t hesitate to contact our skilled Milwaukee criminal defense attorneys today. We will aggressively advocate on your behalf.



Marijuana and OWI ChargesYou can be charged with OWI in Wisconsin any time you operate a motor vehicle with a detectable amount of a restricted controlled substance in your blood. Wisconsin is therefore known as a “zero tolerance” state when it comes to driving under the influence of marijuana.

How and under What Circumstances Do the Police Test for Marijuana Use?

When there is suspicion of drugged driving, Wisconsin police test for Delta-9-THC, an active ingredient in cannabis, which passes through the body much faster than other inert metabolites of cannabis. If at the time you were pulled over and tested positive for cannabis use, you had a valid prescription for marijuana, then you can raise that as an affirmative defense. Otherwise, however, there is a strict liability standard, even if what is in your system was from use several hours or days prior.


Wisconsin accident attorney, Wisconsin injury lawyer,Wisconsin wrongful death attorneyRecently, a significant amount of civil lawsuits involving personal injuries caused by drunk drivers are being filed with state courts around the country, including Wisconsin. Sadly, the harsh criminal penalties and lengthy periods of incarceration associated with drunk driving have not done enough to deter drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 30 individuals die every day in motor vehicle accidents across the United States. In 2013, approximately 10,000 individuals were killed in automobile accidents related to alcohol-impaired drivers. Wisconsin has the highest rate of drunk driving out of all other states in the United States and over 33,000 Wisconsin citizens were convicted of a drunk driving-related offense in 2012. During that same year, 223 individuals were killed and over 3,000 suffered injuries because of drunk drivers.

Wrongful Death Actions Involving Drunk Drivers

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