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Milwaukee, WI OWI Defense LawyerWhile everyone knows that operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a mistake, many thousands of people have a few too many drinks and then get behind the wheel of their car every year in Wisconsin. The majority of these people, while taking an enormous risk, will make it to their destination safely. Others will get caught in OWI checkpoints, while others will go on to cause serious or even fatal traffic accidents.

Because of the potential life-altering seriousness of OWI accidents, prosecutors are often eager to teach drunk drivers a lesson. If you were just caught driving drunk for the first time (or even driving under the legal limit, in some circumstances), you need to hire an experienced OWI defense attorney who will help you fight the charges.

Penalties for a First-Time OWI Offense

Many people’s first concern after getting arrested for an OWI is whether they will go to jail. For most, the answer is no –– as long as a minor under age 16 was not in the car and no car accidents occurred. 

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Wisconsin Attorney for OWI

An arrest for drunk or intoxicated driving can result in multiple consequences. If a person is convicted of operating while intoxicated (OWI), they may be required to pay fines, they may be sentenced to time in prison, and their driver’s license may be revoked. In some cases, a person may lose their driver’s license even if they are not convicted of OWI. Because most people need to be able to drive regularly, it is important for a person to understand their options for regaining their driving privileges, including whether they can receive an occupational driver’s license. For these types of licenses, a person will be required to use an ignition interlock device (IID), and these devices may also be required in other OWI cases. When using a vehicle with an IID, a person will be required to provide a breath sample before starting the vehicle and at regular intervals while driving.

IID Requirements in Wisconsin

For a first-time OWI offense, a person’s driver’s license may be revoked for six to nine months, and after their license is restored, they will only need to use an IID if a chemical test showed that they had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least .15 percent. An IID will also be required if a person is convicted of OWI for a second or subsequent time or if they refused to submit to chemical testing of their BAC. In most of these cases, the requirement to use an IID will last for one year.

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drugged driving lawyerThe use of marijuana has become more acceptable in the United States over the past several years. Many people treat this substance the same as alcohol, considering it to be a relatively harmless recreational drug to be used in moderation. However, even though multiple states have made marijuana legal as either prescription medication or a recreational substance, it continues to be illegal in Wisconsin and at the federal level. Drivers in Wisconsin should be aware of the potential consequences they may face if they are arrested for OWI/DUI based on their use of marijuana.

“Driving While High” in Wisconsin

Since marijuana can have intoxicating effects similar to alcohol, those who drive while under the influence of this substance could be pulled over by a police officer and arrested for Operating While Intoxicated (OWI). However, there are a few differences between OWI cases involving alcohol and those involving marijuana.

Wisconsin law recognizes a legal limit for the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that a driver can have before being considered intoxicated. If a driver has had one or two drinks, their BAC may be below .08 percent, making it legal for them to drive. However, Wisconsin law does not have a legal limit for marijuana. In fact, the law states that it is illegal for a person to drive with any detectable amount of a restricted controlled substance in their blood.

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Waukesha County criminal defense lawyerEvery state in the country has an implied consent law. Basically, this law means that by accepting the privilege drive a vehicle, a licensed driver automatically consents to chemical or blood testing if a police officer has probable cause to believe that driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Wisconsin’s implied consent law goes a step further. The state’s implied consent law contains a provision that stipulates that an incapacitated driver is “presumed not to have withdrawn” their consent of testing, even if they are not conscious.

This provision meant that police could conduct blood testing on a driver who was totally unconscious and unaware of what the police were doing. However, this will no longer be the case as the Wisconsin Supreme Court recently ruled that that provision is unconstitutional and violates the incapacitated driver’s Fourth Amendment protecting against unconstitutional search and seizure.

The Case

The unanimous decision was made by the justices in the case of State v. Prado. In December 2014, the defendant was severely injured in a car crash that killed the other driver. At the hospital, a police officer read the defendant, who was unconscious and intubated, the informing the accused script contained in the state’s implied consent law. Since she was unconscious, she did not answer the officer, however, because he thought he was within his rights under the law, he had a nurse obtain a blood sample without obtaining a warrant to do so first.

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Waukesha County Attorneys for underage OWI

We can all remember the times when we were teenagers. Finally being able to drive meant finally being able to have more independence from your parents, but it also meant taking on more responsibility than ever before. Operating a vehicle while you are under the influence (OWI) of drugs or alcohol is not only highly irresponsible, but it is also highly illegal. In Wisconsin, underage offenders who are caught driving while they are intoxicated face a variety of penalties that could potentially become serious. Being charged with a crime does not necessarily mean you will be convicted of one, but a Wisconsin criminal defense lawyer can help make sure you are not.

Wisconsin’s “Not a Drop” Law

One of the most important pieces of evidence in any OWI case is the driver’s BAC or blood-alcohol concentration. For drivers who are over the age of 21, the legal BAC limit is 0.08. In most states, the legal BAC limit for drivers under the age of 21 is set at a much lower threshold and Wisconsin is no exception. Wisconsin’s underage OWI law, also known as their “Not a Drop” law, states that the legal BAC limit for those under the age of 21 is 0.00, or no amount of alcohol. 

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