Milwaukee Criminal Defense

OWI Attorney in Milwaukee, WI

Operating While Intoxicated Charges

Suspected drunk drivers charged with an OWI in Milwaukee Wisconsin face more scrutiny today than at any time since the first automobile rolled off the assembly line. The accepted alcohol levels have been lowered while the penalties have escalated to the point that we are sending people to prison after repeated convictions. Police conduct Impaired driving sweeps of certain areas periodically during the year to apprehend otherwise good people for OWI. It doesn’t take much, in terms of alcohol consumption, for a normal person to find themselves over the limit and headed to jail. I specialize in being an aggressive OWI Attorney in Milwaukee.

The current blood alcohol limit to be arrested for an OWI in Wisconsin is .08%. Most normal people will find themselves at or above the limit after just two beers or glasses of wine in one hour. In addition, many people will not even feel intoxicated at the level of blood alcohol that will send them to jail.

These facts, increased police attention, and the lower illegal level of blood alcohol, combine to bring more good, otherwise law-abiding people in a conflict of Wisconsin OWI laws. So, while you might not be a murderer or drug-dealer, you still might need the services of an aggressive Wisconsin drunk driving lawyer.

Wisconsin OWI laws contain many potholes that an unwary defendant might step into so it’s very important to have an experienced OWI Attorney in Wisconsin. From clarifying prior convictions, the reason for the seizure, or stop of the defendant, and the manner the police officer administered field sobriety tests, all the way to the validity of the Breathalyzer and correct Blood Alcohol Content at the time of driving, there are several critical points in the process where an astute Wisconsin OWI attorney can challenge the charge of Wisconsin Operating While Intoxicated or OWI.

A new Wisconsin law also prohibits operating a motor vehicle with any detectable amount of many illegal drugs, including Marijuana. This can be a very troubling matter if a person had used Marijuana days before and is not actually under the influence at the time of driving. I expect there to be litigation on this matter going forward, but presently, any detectable amount of THC found in a driver could give rise to a charge of OWI in Wisconsin.

I have represented many people accused of OWI in Wisconsin. As appropriate, I will challenge the reason the police stopped a client, the manner in which field sobriety tests are administered, and the level of blood alcohol at the time of driving

Call Jeff at (414) 704-0019 to learn how he can help you!

Why Should I fight my first Wisconsin OWI/Drunk Driving ticket?

Wisconsin is the only state left in America where the first drunk driving offense is not a criminal offense. Many people simply pay the ticket for the first offense for Wisconsin OWI. That is a huge mistake! It is equally, if not more, important to contest the first Wisconsin drunk driving charge. While the result might be the same, initially, like a speeding ticket, the long-term effect is far more important. If a defense exists for the first OWI, exercise that defense and hire an OWI Attorney in Milwaukee. From sky-high insurance rates to the danger a person faces for a subsequent offense, the reasons are almost endless to fight that first offense.

First offense drunk driving matters in Wisconsin are handled in municipal courts for the jurisdiction where the offense allegedly occurred. These cases are not criminal, as the penalty is simply a fine. However, the process is unique, and you need an OWI Attorney in Milwaukee who knows the process.

New laws require an Ignition Interlock Device to be installed on ALL vehicles owned by the individual convicted of a first offense OWI if the blood alcohol level is 0.15% or higher.

Trials for first offense OWI are handled, as a rule, in front of a municipal court judge, and not a jury. A jury trial must be demanded early in the proceeding. I am a very experienced OWI Attorney in Milwaukee and I will guide you through this intricate and nuanced process to protect your rights and ensure that you get the best outcome possible.

I have litigated my case completely and I still face sentencing for a criminal OWI conviction, will I lose my job?

In nearly all drunk driving cases where prison time is not at issue, a person convicted of a Wisconsin OWI charge will be allowed Huber privileges. The “Huber Law” in Wisconsin is a work-release option so that a defendant is allowed to retain his or her job while serving a sentence. In some cases, the person can also have time to care for children. However, there are limits of, usually, 72 hours per week that a person can be released for such activities. I ensure that my clients are afforded the maximum time possible to manage their lives while serving their sentence for drunk driving in Wisconsin. In addition, some counties in Wisconsin allow defendants to serve their sentences under house arrest. House arrest allows a person to serve their sentence at their own home, leaving only to go to work and run a small number of essential errands.

Wisconsin law now requires that in third and subsequent offenses, the defendant will be taken immediately into custody, or remanded. This means that after the plea or conviction by a jury, the person goes directly to jail. While it is still possible to get work-release privileges, it is important to be aware of this fact to adequately plan for the life disruption.

Second offense drunk driving convictions do not require immediate remand into custody. I have been very successful in planning the dates so that many clients otherwise eligible for work release have not had to spend a single night in jail. They were processed and released on electronic monitoring on the very same day.

I am intimately familiar with the nuances of the laws affecting people accused of OWI in Wisconsin. I will litigate your case aggressively and effectively, and ensure you get the best result possible.

More Information about OWI in Wisconsin

The charge of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) is a very serious charge in Wisconsin. In 2003, Wisconsin became the 43rd state to lower the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) to a level of 0.08%, which makes the OWI laws even tougher than before on those who drink and drive.

OWI Charges

If you are arrested and charged with an OWI, you will likely want to engage the services of a good OWI attorney. Whether you believe yourself guilty or not, the charge of OWI is a serious enough offense, with mandatory jail time along with other penalties, that the court will assign you legal representation if you cannot afford your own.

What Constitutes Drunk Driving?

Here are the four ways that the law defines intoxication:

  • Driving with a BAC of 0.08% or greater.
  • Driving while under the influence of an intoxicant, including alcohol, legal prescription medications, illegal or controlled drugs, or other chemical substances.
  • Driving with a detectable amount of any restricted controlled substance in the bloodstream.
  • Driving while under the influence of a controlled substance or any other drug.

While the last three definitions sound alike, they are written that way so that they cover a wide variety of intoxicating substances, whether the substance in the bloodstream is intoxication by a valid prescription medication to an illegally-obtained controlled substance.

Refusal to Test

If you are arrested and asked for a blood or breath sample for testing and you refuse, you may incur additional penalties including a suspension of your driver’s license, possible jail time, and a monetary fine.

OWI Consequences

Here are the penalties for a 1st offense OWI:

  • Fine: Between $150 to $300
  • OWI surcharge: $365
  • License suspension: 6 to 9 months
  • Occupational license: Allowed.
  • Assessment of alcohol/drug use: Yes.
  • Ignition Interlock Device: Depends on BAC level.

The alcohol/drug use assessment is an examination of the drinking and drug use of the convicted OWI driver to determine whether or not a drug or alcohol problem exists. These basements are performed by a trained alcohol/drug counselor and, depending on the results, will result in a referral to either an educational program or a counseling program.

The occupational license is a limited driver’s license that will allow the convicted OWI driver to drive a vehicle to and from home and work or home and school.

Wisconsin provides an online tool for you to check whether or not you are eligible for an occupational license.

Subsequent Convictions

The first conviction penalties for an OWI driver is geared toward education and changing the habits of the convicted driver. Additional conviction penalties do not offer the same leniency. The fines, license suspensions, and driving record points increase for each additional conviction, along with mandatory jail time for any subsequent OWI convictions.

Ignition Interlock Device

An Ignition Interlock Device is an alcohol measuring device that is attached to your ignition or starter. Before being able to start your vehicle you will have to blow into a tube that will detect any alcohol in your system. If there is alcohol present you will not be able to start your vehicle.

As of July 1st, 2010 Ignition Interlock Device will be required to be installed for a minimum of 1 year for the following circumstances:

  • OWI repeat offenders.
  • Anyone who refuses a chemical test.
  • Anyone who has a 1st offense OWI with a BAC of 0.15% or higher.

An IID carries certain fees, which you will be responsible to pay which can include installation fee, monthly leasing fee, maintenance fees, and any other fees the approved vendor may require. You will need to return to the vendor every 60 days to download the data and make sure the unit is functioning properly.

For more information on IIDs see the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s IID FAQ page.

Ignition Interlock Device

Whether you are returning to driving with an Occupational license or are reinstating your regular driver’s license, you may be required to:

  • Verify your eligibility.
  • Have proof of SR22 or acceptable insurance
  • Reapply for a new license
  • Pay the OWI revocation/suspension reinstatement fee of $200.
  • Have an IID installed.

When reinstating your license you will be required to bring all of your required identification, as well as pay all fees associated with a new license. In some cases, you may be able to reinstate your driver’s license online.

Call Jeff at (414) 704-0019 to learn how he can help you!

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