Drunk Driving Lawyers in Madison, WI, Providing Strong Legal Representation For Individuals Charged With Driving Under the Influence
If you have been charged with drunk while intoxicated, you run the risk of losing your driver’s license, jail time, having to pay for an ignition interlock device, and other penalties. OWI offenses will also cause your car insurance rates to increase significantly due to the risk you pose to other motorists.
Furthermore, if you have prior convictions for drunk driving, you may face the possibility of lengthy imprisonment. Furthermore, if you hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL), you risk losing your license for a substantial amount of time and your employment.
Wisconsin defines driving while intoxicated as an OWI or operating while intoxicated. An OWI charge is the same as a DUI charge in other states. An OWI conviction can have life-long negative consequences if not appropriately handled by a DUI attorney with the proper legal training to defend you against the charges. The impact of a DUI conviction can make it difficult to obtain employment, find housing, or serve in the military. Drunk driving charges may also harm your professional reputation and your standing in the community.
You must seek qualified legal representation immediately if you have been arrested and received a drunk driving charge. Not only are your freedom and driving privileges at stake but also your reputation in the community. The Madison DUI attorneys of the Casper Mehlos Law Group, LLC, have extensive experience handling drunk driving cases and can provide the legal proficiency needed to obtain favorable results.
Contact our law office and ask to schedule a free initial consultation with a qualified legal team member who will gladly review your case and explain your potential legal options.
How Long Does an OWI Stay on Your Criminal Record in Wisconsin?
OWI offenses will remain on an individual’s permanent criminal record for the rest of their life. Furthermore, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation is permitted to preserve a record of an OWI conviction for a period of 10 years and assign six points to the defendant’s driver’s license. These 6 points will remain on the individual’s license for five years.
If an individual is convicted of an OWI within 10 years of their first offense, the new charge will count as a subsequent OWI. However, the new charge will count as a second OWI if you are found guilty of an OWI offense 10 years after your first conviction. Finally, if you are convicted of a second OWI 11 years after your first offense, it will count as a first OWI.
Individuals must understand that Wisconsin maintains a lifetime look-back policy if an individual is charged with a third OWI or above. In cases of a third OWI and beyond, prior convictions will still count against the defendant. However, if an individual is charged with a fourth offense within 5 years of their third OWI conviction, the charge is upgraded to a felony punishable by time in prison.
When employers run a background check, any OWI convictions will appear in the report. Wisconsin law does not allow potential employers to automatically disqualify applicants because they have a criminal record. However, if the conviction directly affects the job in question, the employer has the legal right not to hire the applicant.
For example, if you are applying to be a school bus driver and have a prior OWI conviction, you most likely will not be hired for the job. In addition, an OWI conviction can also negatively affect individuals who hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and cause them to lose their ability to work in their chosen profession.
Therefore, due to the severity of OWI offenses, you will need a skilled attorney who can work to reduce your charges or obtain a dismissal on your behalf.
Our DUI attorneys can provide the legal representation you need to obtain a favorable outcome for your case. If you would still like information about how the Casper Mehlos Law Group, LLC, can assist you with your defense, contact our law office to schedule a meeting with one of our legal professionals.
What Are the Criminal Penalties for Driving Under the Influence?
The criminal penalties for OWI or DUI driving depend on the circumstances of the case. The Wisconsin criminal justice system takes a dim view of driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
One of the main determinants the court will review is the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The legal limit for drivers 21 and older in Wisconsin is 0.08%. However, if the defendant has been convicted three or more times for driving under the influence, the legal limit is lowered to 0.02%. In addition, commercial drivers’ legal limit is reduced to 0.04% as they are held to a higher standard and will automatically be subject to a license suspension.
If the accused is under 21 years of age, they are not allowed to have any trace of alcohol in their system and may be charged if alcohol is detected. In addition, if illegal substances are found in a driver’s system, they risk license revocation.
The criminal penalties for drunk driving convictions in Wisconsin include:
- First OWI offense: Up to 6 months in jail, license revocation of up to 9 months, installation of an ignition interlock device, and a fine ranging from $150 to $300.
- Multiple DUI convictions: Individuals who receive a new OWI charge within 5-10 years of the first offense may receive a sentence of up to 6 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, and three-year license revocation.
Many individuals who have received their first drunk driving charge mistakenly believe they may not need an attorney. In some instances, the defendant mistakenly believes that because a first offense is considered a civil offense, they will pay their fine and be on their way. Nevertheless, even though a first-offense OWI is not a misdemeanor or felony, it still can have long-lasting penalties that can haunt individuals for the rest of their life.
If you are facing an OWI charge, you must seek qualified legal representation to protect your driving privileges as well as your ability to attain your future goals. Contact Casper Mehlos Law Group, LLC, to learn more about how we can help you protect your freedom.
What Are Possible Defenses to an OWI Charge?
Just because the police charged an individual with operating while intoxicated, that does not necessarily mean the defendant is guilty. In many instances, a knowledgeable attorney may be able to prove that the evidence the prosecution has against the defendant is flawed or inadmissible in court.
Some of the most common OWI defenses include:
- The police officer may not have had probable cause to initiate a traffic stop. A law enforcement officer does not have the right to stop a driver just because they believe they are driving while impaired. Instead, they must have specific legal grounds to stop a driver. If it can be proven that the police officer did not have probable cause, all tests and other evidence seized during your arrest may be ruled inadmissible by the court. If this occurs, the prosecution will have no evidence against you, and the case will likely be dismissed.
- The field sobriety test was administered incorrectly. In addition, field sobriety tests are highly subjective, and the results are often left to the officer’s judgment. For this reason, field sobriety tests cannot be used solely to demonstrate that a driver was under the influence.
- Like the field sobriety test, the breath test may have also been administered incorrectly. However, individuals should be aware that refusal to take a roadside breath test can result in a one-year driver’s license revocation and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device.
- The results of the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test were inaccurate. BAC tests are known to be inaccurate, especially if they have not been administered within certain time limits or if the equipment used to collect the results is faulty. Some of the most common issues that can skew the results of a BAC test include poor blood storage techniques, poorly calibrated or maintained test equipment, expired or contaminated test tubes, and inaccurate labeling of test tubes, leading to mixed-up samples.
- Medical conditions may make it appear that the defendant was driving while impaired. In addition, many neurological conditions may make it difficult for individuals accused of OWI to perform field sobriety tests.
If you have been arrested on a DUI charge, you need to seek qualified legal representation who can analyze the evidence the prosecution has against you. An experienced attorney can review the test results and look for weak spots in the evidence. If there is body cam or dash cam footage, your attorney will also be able to view the footage and see if the officer had the legal right to pull you over for suspicion of OWI in the first place. They can also review the police reports looking for inconsistencies and errors that may result in reduced charges or your case being dismissed.
What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Drunk Driving Defense Attorney?
If you are facing a drunk driving charge, it is essential that you hire a knowledgeable attorney who has an understanding of DUI laws. A drunk driving attorney will use their experience to help defend you against the charges and navigate the overly complex criminal justice system on your behalf.
Due to the legal system’s complexity, your attorney can gather evidence, file motions, and other legal paperwork, and negotiate with the prosecution to try and have your charges reduced or dismissed or help you enter a diversion program for first-time offenders.
Furthermore, a drunk driving attorney may be able to help you obtain an occupational license. An occupational license is a restricted driver’s license that individuals may use to drive back and forth to work and other necessary tasks if their license has been suspended or revoked. This driver’s license allows individuals to keep their jobs and travel to and from essential destinations. This type of driver’s license may be hard to attain without the help of a skilled lawyer who can assist you through the legal process.
Suppose you received additional charges when arrested for drunk driving, such as disorderly conduct or possession of an illegal drug. In that case, your attorney may be able to work closely with the prosecution to mitigate the charges. Many DUI driving defendants are unaware that many cases are settled through plea bargaining. Plea bargaining helps clients save valuable time and money and resume their lives.
Many Madison DUI attorneys may claim to be able to obtain results, but only some can achieve the outcomes our law firm has achieved for our clients. We understand that individuals can make poor decisions that may negatively impact them for the rest of their life. However, our legal team strongly believes that everyone deserves a second chance, and our attorneys will work tirelessly on your behalf.
Our main objective is to help clients avoid jail time and prevent them from having a DUI on their record. In addition, we will utilize a variety of legal strategies to help you keep your driver’s license and your ability to provide for yourself and your family.
Contact Casper Mehlos Law Group, LLC, of Madison, WI, by calling (608) 820-8926 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. A qualified legal team member will be happy to sit down with you and provide you with a free case review. Then, if we take your case, we can discuss your legal options and how we will handle your defense.