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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.


Drunk driving scenarios

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.

3 ways a false drunk driving arrest can happen

Posted on in OWI

Not everyone who is accused of drunk driving is guilty. In fact, Wisconsin police frequently make mistakes during traffic stops that lead to an inappropriate arrest. Here are three ways that false DUI arrests might happen:

Police thought you were driving when you were the passenger: Imagine your friend is the designated driver who is diligently taking you home from a party in your own car. However, on the way home, your friend gets into an accident. You both get out of your car to examine the damage, and when police arrive, they don't believe that your friend was driving. Instead, they assume that you were driving while drunk and they arrest you for a DUI.

You have mouth alcohol: Imagine you just drank an alcoholic beverage, so the alcohol is still in your stomach. You can also smell it on your breath. However, your blood alcohol level is well within the legal limit. If police pull you over, they might smell the alcohol and decide to give you a breathalyzer test. If you accidentally burp while doing the breathalyzer exam, it could result in mouth alcohol that elevates your breath test reading beyond the legal limit. Mouth alcohol happens frequently, which is why police must observe you for approximately 15 minutes before giving you a breath test to ensure that you haven't burped.


If you've been accused of drunk driving, you're in danger of having a bad mark on your criminal record. That mark could get in the way of employment opportunities -- particularly ones that involve driving.

Different kinds of criminal background checks expose different types of offenses. Depending on the nature of the check, your prospective employer might discover your drunk driving charge. Although your employer -- be it a federal agency or a Wisconsin business -- cannot discriminate against you based on a drunk driving conviction without a valid reason, this kind of discrimination can happen under the radar.

Background checks and getting hired for a job


The best way to handle a drunk driving charge in Wisconsin is to avoid getting arrested in the first place. Aside from becoming a teetotaler and refraining from drinking completely, there are a few precautions that every Wisconsin driver should make if he or she wants to prevent getting hit with this very serious criminal charge.

Here are a few tips from State Farm Insurance, which will prevent you from getting arrested and charged with a DUI:

  • Select a designated driver for the night. This person will be your sober buddy who will make sure you get home safely without needing to drive drunk.
  • Ask someone to give you a ride. If you're too drunk to drive, don't be shy to ask a sober friend to give you a lift. Most people will be happy to oblige.
  • Take keys away from drunk people. If someone is intoxicated at a party, don't be shy to take the person's keys away from him or her. Even though the person might react negatively, think of it this way: You could be saving a friend's life.
  • Offer your guests water, juice, coffee and soda. Never pressure people at your party to drink alcohol.
  • Offer lots of food. This will reduce the intoxicating effects of alcohol.
  • Organize alternate transportation. Offer transportation to all guests at your party to ensure they have a safe way of getting home.

There are many more excellent tips that will keep the guests at your party safe. Be sure, most importantly, to use common sense. Furthermore, if you do find yourself arrested and charged with impaired driving -- whether you were intoxicated or not -- don't be shy to reach out for legal assistance from an experienced criminal defense attorney.

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