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The law in Wisconsin is exceedingly clear. Individuals who have a blood alcohol content beyond .08 percent cannot legally operate an automobile on the road. In fact, they can't even sit in the driver's seat while drunk with the vehicle pulled over on the side of the road without running the risk of getting arrested for a DUI. All that said, many drivers are surprised to hear that there are certain exceedingly rare circumstances in which it is actually legal to driver while intoxicated.

Before we discuss some examples of these circumstances -- when it's legal to drive drunk -- readers should be warned: This is not something to do on purpose, and it only applies to rare and emergency situations.

Here are two situations in which a driver could theoretically drive drunk and get away with it:


Posted on in OWI

Police use a variety of methodologies to spot potentially drunk drivers. Learning what police look for might help you avoid an inappropriate DUI. In fact, many drivers in Wisconsin have been arrested and charged with DUI because they made some simple and relatively harmless mistake on the road. If you're sober, and you know what to avoid, it should be fairly easy to prevent making the following errors by mistake:

  • Driving in an unpredictable and or erratic way: Drivers who are intoxicated tend to operate their vehicles erratically. They might cross the centerline suddenly without warning. They might speed up and slow down for no reason at all. They could be piloting their vehicles in other strange ways that call attention to the vehicle and driver. As long as you're driving close to the speed limit, and you're maintaining your speed and your lane in a steady way, you should be able to avoid the risk of getting falsely accused of a DUI.
  • Being overly nervous during a field sobriety test: Stay calm and respectful during your field sobriety test, and remember to breathe. It's easy to get nervous when police are administering a field sobriety test. However, that nervousness -- if it's extreme enough -- could cause police to think you're intoxicated, so be sure to stay as calm as you can.
  • Failing to pass your Breathalyzer test: No sober driver should ever fail a Breathalyzer test, but it does happen from time to time. Ultimately, there's nothing you can do to pass or fail this test. Just blow if you haven't been drinking, your test results should reflect that. If you aren't intoxicated, but the breath test shows that you are, you might be able to challenge the accuracy of test results in court at a later time.

Being falsely accused of drunk driving is not the end of the world. You will have the right to defend yourself against the charges in court; and, if you're innocent of the charges, the prosecution should not be able to convict you of a crime you didn't commit.

Source: FindLaw, "DUI Traffic Stop FAQ," accessed Jan. 05, 2018

If you recently received DUI charges, it can feel as though you have no way to fight them. The truth is that there is usually something a very creative person can find to build some sort of defense. While there is no guarantee that the defense succeeds in preventing a conviction, it is always better to build some sort of defense against any kind of criminal charge.

Without a legal defense of some kind, the prosecutor handling your case has nothing to prevent them from throwing the book at you and using you as an example to other alleged offenders. Even if the officer who arrested you administered a breathalyzer test and it indicated that you were over the limit, you may still have more options than you think you do.

In most cases, it is most effective to enlist the help of an experienced DUI defense attorney. Such an attorney fully understands the laws that govern DUI stops and arrests, as well as the local justice system and the major players in it. With proper legal counsel from an experienced, established defense attorney, you can confidently fight for fair treatment while protecting your rights.


There are tests that police use in the field to determine if a driver is operating his or her vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol. The king of these tests is the Breathalyzer testm which provides a way to measure the amount of alcohol in a driver's blood. Police can also use gaze tests, smell your breath and have you perform other field sobriety tests to gauge how intoxicated you are.

When it comes to drugged driving, however, police don't have such a clear way to determine if you have drugs in your system. For example, marijuana can be found in your bloodstream and urine for as many as four or five weeks following the use of the drug, but police can't use such tests to determine if you're high on marijuana right now. As for cocaine, it will stay in your system for one or two days. Again, you might have evidence of these drugs in your system but not be intoxicated at all.

Sometimes, police can use "Drug Recognition Experts," also known as DREs, to evaluate what kind of drugs are impairing you. A DRE can look closely at your eye movements, your behavior and other indicators to determine if you're under the influence of drugs and what kind of drug could be influencing you. These specially trained experts might perform tests on you after police bring you back to the police station following an arrest.


Posted on in OWI

Wisconsin drunk driving lawyers are not miracle workers, but they can assist you in navigating your criminal charges. In some cases, when your criminal defense counsel can identify holes in the prosecution's case, they may be able to get your charges dropped or dismissed. In other cases, your lawyer might be able to reach a plea deal in order to get your punishments reduced.

The criminal, career, social and financial consequences of an operating while intoxicated (OWI) conviction are serious. Nevertheless, 3.1 percent of Wisconsin drivers still admit to driving after having too much to drink. As a warning to all drivers, let's look at a few possible scenarios that drunk driving defendants commonly face:

  • First-time offenders with OWI charges: A first-time OWI charge is usually a non-criminal offense, which doesn't result in jail time. Those convicted of this crime will usually face a large fine, a nine-month maximum license suspension, a 12-month maximum ignition interlock device (IID), an alcohol assessment exam, and at least six points on their drivers' licenses. Additional penalties unrelated to the criminal aspects of this conviction could include an increase in insurance premiums and professional consequences. Incidentally, if your OWI charge was also connected to injuries, you might have to spend 30 days in jail.
  • Second offense OWI charges: These charges are much more serious. A conviction could result in up to $2,000 in fines, six months in jail, eight months of license revocation and a required IID.
  • Fourth and subsequent OWI charges: These charges are the severest and could be treated as felonies and result in lengthened jail time if a conviction occurs.

Individuals accused of OWI crimes want to do everything they can to defend themselves. Accused individuals should explore legal strategies to lessen the severity of their punishments.

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