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Why You Should Request an Administrative Hearing If Arrested for OWI

Posted on in Operating While Under the Influence
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.



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