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New Challenge to the Informing the Accused Form

Posted on in Criminal Defense

DUI, DWI, Wisconsin criminal defense attorney, Wisconsin OWI attorneyWisconsin law requires police officers to take steps to inform people accused of operating while under the influence of an intoxicant (OWI). Among these steps is the requirement that police provide a form known as an Informing the Accused from. This form informs a driver that the police would like to test them for alcohol or other intoxicants under Wisconsin's implied consent law. The implied consent law is a law that allows the police to take a chemical test to determine if a person has been operating while under the influence. However, a recent case is challenging the clarity of the Informing the Accused Form in an effort to invalidate a blood test that was taken following a form. The case plays on an inherent ambiguity that exists within the form to argue that it is confusing to defendants.

The Form In Question

The form itself is long, but the beginning paragraph reads “Under Wisconsin's Implied Consent Law, I am required to read this notice to you: You have been arrested for an offense that involves driving or operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or both or you are the operator of a vehicle that was involved in an accident that caused the death of, great bodily harm to, or substantial bodily harm to a person, or you are suspected of driving or being on duty time with respect to a commercial motor vehicle after consuming an intoxicating beverage.” The key ambiguity that exists is that this form is read both to people who were arrested on suspicion of OWI and because their vehicle was involved in a deadly accident.

The New Dispute

The new dispute relates to a case where a person was arrested on suspicion of OWI following a deadly accident. A man who had allegedly been drinking in a bar rear-ended a motorcycle that one of his friends was riding. The police then read him the Informing the Accused form, which assumes that either the person has been arrested for an OWI or for a deadly accident but not both. The man argues that this means the explanation of the consequences for failing a BAC test that the forms gives was not accurate since he faced penalties that were different than what the form is designed for. Now the man wants the blood test thrown out, and the state is arguing that, because officers were allowed to draw blood regardless, the form was not incorrect. A judge has yet to rule on the issue.

OWIs are serious charges that can have life-changing consequences. If you have recently been charged with an OWI or some other crime, contact an experienced Milwaukee criminal defense attorney today. Our firm's skilled professionals can help you get your day in court.
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