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Wisconsin accident attorney, Wisconsin wrongful death lawyerWhen you make the mistake of driving while under the influence and then experience an accident that ultimately results in the death of another, the lives of two families are significantly altered: the victims, and yours. The type of impact is very different, however. For the victim’s family, there is the grief of losing a loved one. For you and your family, there is the guilt that often follows such accidents, the possibility of a prison sentence, and lives that are forever altered by the consequences of a criminal record. Each must find their own road to healing. Yours should begin with skilled legal representation for your OWI-DUI homicide case.

What Constitutes an OWI-DUI Homicide in Wisconsin

Although you had no intention of killing anyone, your alleged use of an intoxicant is, by legal statutes, considered reckless and/or negligent behavior. It is this factor that turns an accident into a homicide. Of course, this places a stipulation on the prosecution: they must be able to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you were intoxicated above the legal limit, and that your behavior directly caused the death of another. This can be a critical element in your case. In some cases, it may even mean the difference between exoneration and severe penalties in an OWI-DUI accident case.

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.



Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyer, Milwaukee drunk driving attorneyMany people are unaware that they can be arrested for operating a motor vehicle under the influence (OWI) of alcohol, even if they are sleeping in their automobile. Wisconsin law prohibits anyone from operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, among other things, that render them incapable of safely driving. The law defines what penalties you may be subject to and even defines what qualifies as an intoxicant. However, the law conveniently fails to define the term ‘operating.’

Courts generally interpret the term ‘operating,’ broadly. However, courts will look at the totality of the circumstances to determine, whether or not, you were capable of operating the automobile. If you are asleep in the front seat with the keys in the ignition and lights on, the court may rule that you were capable of operating the automobile under the law. However, if your keys were in the trunk, lights were off and you were asleep in the back seat of the car, the judge might rule differently. If the automobile was completely disabled, unable to turn on, then you may have a strong defense against OWI charges.

Factors Courts Consider

As stated above, the court will look at the facts and circumstances surrounding your arrest to make a determination if you were about to operate an automobile under Wisconsin law. These factors may include:

Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyer, Milwaukee drunk driving attorneyWhen you have been arrested for operating your vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant (OWI), you may feel that your life cannot get any worse at that moment in time. Shortly after you are arrested, the circumstances surrounding your arrest are still developing, and depending on the situation, your case may even be dismissed months down the line. However, if you engage in certain actions, you may give the prosecution more ammunition against you and proving that you may be your own worst enemy. Under Wisconsin law, in order to be convicted of a OWI, the prosecution must prove that you were operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant. The prosecution has to prove every single element of the OWI charge in order to obtain a conviction. If the prosecution fails to prove any single element, the case against you is substantially weakened which raises your chance of acquittal.

Things to Avoid

If you have been arrested for an OWI, you will most likely make bail and be released under certain conditions. While on bail, there are a few things that you should avoid doing at all costs because they may negatively affect your case.
  • First, avoid mentioning anything on social media about your arrest or OWI. Anything that you say on social media may be used against you in court by the prosecution. If you make an admission that you were driving drunk or were arrested after leaving a party where you drank all night, it could severely limit the success of your defense.
  •  Second, you should avoid indulging in any partying or heavy drinking. A condition of your bail may require you to abstain from drinking.
  •  Third, if you were arrested for an OWI, your license will most likely be suspended. You should avoid driving because you can get arrested for driving with a suspended license and incur more jail time than necessary.
  •  Fourth, do not miss any court dates. The judge may issue a bench warrant for your arrest and you could possibly spend time in jail until your case is resolved.  Show up to all your court dates on time.
  •  Fifth, make sure you obtain an experienced OWI defense attorney. If you try to handle the case on your own, you may inadvertently assist the prosecution not to mention negotiating a bad deal for yourself.

Consult an Attorney

By following these rules and securing legal counsel, you will give yourself the best chance to fight the OWI charges. If you are facing OWI charges, you should contact an experienced Milwaukee criminal defense attorney who will protect your rights and hold the prosecution to its burden.

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