A drunk driving arrest may result in the loss of your license — but a good DUI defense lawyer can help. Take the right steps to protect yourself now if you’re facing a Wisconsin OWI charge. It may mean the difference between keeping your license or losing you license. First, make certain you choose a qualified lawyer. OWI DUI cases are complex; and some lawyers are not skilled or experienced in fighting them, even if they handle many guilty pleas. You should seriously consider choosing an attorney who has been consistently successful at fighting cases like yours.
Make certain you request an administrative hearing. If you are subject to this law, you are subject to the ten-day time limit. So, have a good lawyer review things without delay. While you’re doing so, you should consider ensuring that the arresting officer is issued a subpoena to be present. In Wisconsin, you may be able to use the administrative hearing to preview the trial, and that can give you and your attorney a better opportunity to prepare a defense that will truly protect you. Making the officer testify can give you one more advantage in the long run.
Consider whether you should have the blood sample retested. Drunk driving arrests in Wisconsin often result in a blood sample being taken to determine your blood alcohol level, but testing errors do happen frequently. It takes a skilled, experienced defense attorney to review not only the one-page government lab report, but also the hundreds of pages of underlying lab records, in order to determine whether a retest of the blood sample is a good idea. A retest might clear you, but if it is done in the wrong way, it might convict you.
Recommended Reading: The Truth About Blood Tests
If you have been stopped for suspected OWI or DUI, Wisconsin law requires that the initial stop must be based on a level of evidence called reasonable suspicion. If you are stopped for a traffic violation, the stop must be based on probable cause. Any arrest must be based on probable cause. An in-depth understanding of these things before you go to court is a way to protect your license. A good DUI lawyer knows that the timing of the tests performed on you must meet certain guidelines, so looking at the reports along with their times is a big part of preparing your defense strategy.
Wisconsin OWI law says the samples you provided for the police must be properly handled. That may include the way the samples are labeled and sealed. The blood vials also have an expiration date (that the police often forget to check). It helps to ensure the evidence was properly tested. If the labeling is incorrect or the seals aren’t fresh, you may have a defense.
Your lawyer should explain all of the different kinds of hearings that may take place, including: the initial appearance and bail hearing, the pretrial conference, any motion hearing, a court trial, a jury trial, a refusal hearing, an administrative hearing, an appeal from municipal court or an appeal to the appeals court. These are the basic hearings; there are others.
If you have more questions on how to keep your license after being arrested for drunk driving contact our office for a free consultation and review of your case.