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Oconomowoc BUI defense attorney

After several long months of winter weather, summer has finally arrived in Wisconsin. Even though this summer might look a little different than what we are used to, it is safe to assume that most people will attempt to continue with summertime activities, such as boating. In Wisconsin, boating is a favorite pastime for many. What some may not realize, however, is that boats fall under many of the same laws that other motor vehicles do -- especially when it comes to operating them while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Therefore, it is important to understand the legal penalties for this type of criminal offense.

Dangers of Alcohol and Boating

Alcohol alters your perceptions of the world around you, which is why it is so dangerous to drive while under the influence. Boating is no exception. Alcohol is notorious for delaying reaction time and causing balance issues, both of which can already be exacerbated on a boat because of the vibrations and waves in the water. Drugs or alcohol can also impair your vision and depth perception, which is critical when navigating any type of watercraft. 

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Muskego OWI defense attorney

Since the 1980s, the number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities in the United States has decreased dramatically, from approximately 21,000 deaths in 1982 to 10,500 deaths in 2018. Unfortunately, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), intoxicated driving still accounted for nearly one-third of all traffic deaths in 2018. Drunk driving laws all over the country have become more strict, with Wisconsin being no exception. In certain situations, Wisconsin requires those drivers who are charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on their vehicle. It is critical to understand what is involved with an IID if you are facing OWI charges.

What Is an IID?

An IID is a small, cell phone-sized device that is electronically wired into your vehicle’s ignition system. The device requires you to provide a breath sample before you are able to start your vehicle. A portion of the device functions like a breathalyzer and determines your blood alcohol content (BAC) from your breath sample. If your BAC is more than 0.02 percent, the device will not allow your vehicle to start. Each time you provide a breath sample, the results are stored in the device’s memory, which will eventually be reviewed by the authorities for compliance. Any attempts to remove, circumvent, or tamper with the device will immediately be reported to the sheriff’s office in your county.

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Muskego OWI defense attorney

Most states have laws that make it illegal to drive under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol. In Wisconsin, these laws are referred to as operating while intoxicated (OWI). These laws tend to be broadly defined, and they apply to a number of drunk driving behaviors. In Wisconsin, you can be charged with OWI if you have a BAC of 0.08 percent or more; are intoxicated and unable to safely drive; or have any detectable amount of a controlled substance in your body. If a person is under the age of 21 when he or she is convicted of OWI, he or she can face an additional set of criminal consequences in conjunction with regular OWI penalties. That is why it is essential to seek professional legal counsel to make sure your rights are protected throughout the proceedings.

Wisconsin’s “Not a Drop” Law

As in most other states, drivers are not permitted to have a BAC of more than 0.08 percent when operating a motor vehicle. In Wisconsin, drivers who are under the age of 21 are not permitted to have any alcohol whatsoever in their systems. This means the legal limit for those under 21 is 0.00, whereas it is 0.08 for everyone else. If you are under 21 and you are caught driving with a BAC higher than zero, you face a $200 fine, four demerit points on your driver’s license, and a driver’s license suspension of three months. These penalties are concurrent and separate from any other penalties you may be facing for OWI.

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Milwaukee drunk driving defense attorney

Since the 1980s, both state and federal agencies have attempted to reduce the number of drunk driving accidents that occur. For the most part, this has succeeded. In Wisconsin, there were nearly 30,000 alcohol-related traffic crashes in 1980. By the time 2015 rolled around, there were only 5,174 alcohol-related traffic crashes recorded in Wisconsin. Even though the number of drunk driving accidents decreased immensely, they still remain a significant safety issue. Wisconsin OWI laws are taken seriously and are often enacted to their full extent. That is why if you or someone you know is charged with OWI, it is crucial to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to make sure your rights are protected. 

Implied Consent Laws in Wisconsin

Nearly every state in the United States has an implied consent law that requires drivers to submit to chemical testing if they are suspected to be driving while intoxicated. Wisconsin is no exception. If you are driving a vehicle in Wisconsin, you are deemed to have given your consent to submit to “one or more tests of blood, breath, or urine.” These tests are used to determine the amount of alcohol or drugs in your system, and they are typically performed after a person has been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving.

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Posted on in OWI

New Berlin OWI defense attorney

One of the most common crimes committed with a vehicle is driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In Wisconsin, this is referred to as operating while intoxicated (OWI). Some of the most deadly and serious car accidents occur because of people driving when they are drunk or high on drugs. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, there were nearly 30,000 OWI arrests that took place in 2015, with more than 5,000 alcohol-related car crashes. In the past few decades, more emphasis has been placed on preventing drunk driving, with one strategy being to increase the consequences for committing an OWI. In Wisconsin, penalties for OWI can range from a simple fine to jail time or felony charges, depending on the situation.

First-Offense OWI

In Wisconsin, a first-time OWI offense is not technically considered a criminal charge. Rather, it is classified as a petty offense that results in a fine and a driver’s license suspension. If you are caught driving while under the influence for the first time, you will be subject to a fine between $150 and $300, a $435 OWI surcharge, and a six- to nine-month driver’s license suspension. However, you can apply to get an occupational license immediately. An occupational license allows you to drive to certain places, such as work, school, church, or the grocery store. 

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