How to Save Your License
After an OWI
A drunk driving arrest may result in the loss of your license — but a good OWI DUI defense lawyer can help. Take the right steps to protect yourself now if you’re facing a Wisconsin OWI DUI 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.
10 Days to Make Your Case
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.
If you are accused of refusing to submit to a breath or blood test, you will have only ten days to demand a hearing, or your driver's license will be revoked. You are entitled to a full hearing on that allegation, where the government must prove you were properly stopped, arrested, read your rights, and that you actually did refuse. Again, the officer must testify, so its critical to have a skilled attorney handling the refusal hearing.
Explore Defense Possibilities
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. A good OWI DUI lawyer knows that the the tests performed on you must meet certain guidelines, so looking a qualified lawyer reviews the police reports, the video tapes, the radio traffic between the squad car and the dispatch. At Mishlove and Stuckert, we have the same training as the police in standardized field sobriety testing; so we know how to find police errors.
Wisconsin OWI law says the blood sample that you provided to the police must be properly drawn and handled. That includes the way the samples is drawn by the nurse, labeled, sealed, and transported to the lab. The blood vials also have an expiration date (that the police often forget to check). If the blood sample was not drawn and handled properly, you may have a defense to the test result.
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.