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However, a person arrested for drunk driving in the state of Wisconsin will be charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated OWI rather than a charge of driving under the influence DUI. While the terminology can vary, the basic principle is the same. Dealing with an OWI can be expensive, time-consuming, and frustrating. It is not a crime to drink and drive in Wisconsin unless your blood alcohol level exceeds the legal limit.

The blood alcohol limit in Wisconsin is a 0. For those younger than 21 years of age, any trace of alcohol in your system means you are legally intoxicated. For commercial drivers, the blood alcohol limit is 0. The penalties can vary for an OWI charge depending on what number of offense it is. For example, someone charged with a first offense will face a lighter penalty than, for example, someone charged with a third offense. When your case is pending, there are several steps in the proceedings during which you need do nothing and until the pretrial conference nothing more than your statements are available to your attorney.

During the process of your case moving through the system, your attorney is working on another case, in court, traveling to court, or unavailable because of time needed to prepare for an upcoming court case. Whenever a decision must be made relating to your case an in person or telephone meeting will be requested with you and your attorney. At the pretrial conference, your attorney will usually receive the complete discovery on your case, including police reports and any supplemental information.

Prior to this date, your attorney does not have access to the police reports. Depending on the county or municipality in which you were charged, the prosecutor may send your attorney the discovery before or after the pretrial conference. Seeing a counselor for an assessment of any potential alcohol or drug related problem that may exist is always a good idea and may help you if such a problem does exist.

From the standpoint of your case and depending upon your entire situation, your voluntary participation in a treatment program may cause or influence the court to lessen your sentence, particularly if you are receiving treatment or have completed treatment goals. Please note that if you are convicted of OWI, the court will order you to complete an assessment at the time of your sentencing. Your initial court appearance date is the court date that is referenced on your citation. At the Initial Appearance hearing, your attorney will enter a not guilty plea on your behalf.

You are not required to be present at your Initial Appearance unless your attorney tells you otherwise. If this case is your second OWI or above, it is a criminal matter. By saying "not guilty" when the judge asks for your plea. It's your right. A "not guilty" plea in court simply means you're not going to admit anything, and that it's up to the prosecution to prove it' case -- if it can -- by legally obtained and legally admissible evidence.

There's nothing dishonest about pleading not guilty to an OWI or DU, even if you think you might be guilty. In the American system of justice, it's your right. If you operate a car under the influence of drugs such as heroin, cocaine, marijuana, or any other illegal substance you can be charged with a crime.

As well, legal drugs can get you into trouble. Check the labels on all medications carefully. At the pretrial conference your attorney will meet with the prosecutor from the Office of the District Attorney.

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That prosecuting attorney is not necessarily the same prosecutor assigned to your case. It is not necessary for you to appear in person at the pretrial conference unless your attorney tells you otherwise. Your attorney will usually receive the discovery materials during that meeting along with an initial offer in your case. It also will not be necessary or useful for you to meet with your attorney before the pretrial conference because it is at that conference that your attorney will first receive the discovery materials on your case.

Please keep in mind that an initial offer is not set in stone. That a person 'flunked' a blood or breath test doesn't mean the person will be convicted of drunk driving.

Many drunk driving cases turn on whether the police had legal cause to stop, detain or test the driver. If the police act without legal cause, the evidence they obtain cannot be used in court. No evidence means no conviction. Whether police acted properly a legal issue.


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Having a lawyer who is skilled in defending drunk driving cases is the best way to identify and exploit these defenses. Never assume a police officer's actions are legal merely because a police officer did them.

Milwaukee Law Firm Experienced in DUI Defense Explains the Penalties for a 1st DUI in Wisconsin

There's a reason that being certified as a police officer takes only weeks, but earning a law degree takes years. There is no simple answer to this question. By submitting to a test, you avoid the risk of a license revocation for refusal, but you risk an administrative license suspension if you "fail" the test. Also, submitting means that the police get evidence of your alcohol concentration. But the results of the test many not matter if the police didn't have legal grounds to stop or arrest you, or violated your rights in the testing process.

The real question isn't whether you should have taken the test.

Drunk Driving Laws in Wisconsin

The important thing is to take advantage of the defenses which that choice creates. Wisconsin statute So-called "preliminary breath test" devices can, however, be used in court before trial, in very limited circumstances. The results of a "PBT" can be used when challenging an arrest as illegal, or in contesting a refusal proceeding. In such circumstances, either the prosecution or the defense can produce "PBT" evidence.

A test result obtained an hour or more after you were stopped may not accurately reflect the alcohol in your system at the time you were driving. Alcohol is absorbed and eliminated from the body over time. The rate at which alcohol is absorbed and eliminated is sometimes referred to as the "blood alcohol curve. Though many people believe that most alcohol is absorbed within an hour after consuming the last drink, that's not always true. Scientific research conducted on so-called "fasting subjects," meaning people who haven't eaten in a long time and have no food in their stomachs, shows that the highest alcohol concentration in a person's blood may not occur until hours after the end of drinking.

Moreover, the peak isn't predictable. A "fasting subject" in one scientific study did not reach his peak alcohol level until minutes after the last drink -- more than three hours. Moreover, as soon as alcohol enters the blood, the liver begins eliminating it.


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So, even as a person is drinking alcohol, he is eliminating it from his system. Unlike the rate of alcohol absorption, the rate of alcohol elimination is predictable. The rate varies from. This can mean that a person who has consumed a substantial volume of alcohol over several hours time duration may have a rather low alcohol concentration. What you drink and what you weigh also matter The more you weigh, the more blood you have in your body, and the lower the concentration of alcohol will be after consuming a set quantity of alcohol. In this setting at least, bigger is better What you drink can also make a difference.

Driving under the influence

Though many agencies publish charts that equate an ounce of whiskey with a 12 ounce beer because they contain the same amount of alcohol including the DOT charts in the thumbnails above , they won't necessarily be absorbed in the same time duration, or lead to the same alcohol concentration.

Generally, beer absorbs at about half the rate as hard liquor. In other words, for the same amount of alcohol in whiskey and beer, it may be expected that the alcohol peak of the person drinking whiskey will be twice that of the beer drinker, in half the time. These scientific facts can be the basis of a defense to drunk driving charges, because even a test above the "legal limit" may not mean that you were above it when you were driving.

For example, a test done within a half hour after drinking may give a high test result because the person is still absorbing alcohol and had a lower alcohol concentration earlier. That may be true, as well, even when the test is two hours or more after drinking. Gender also matters. A woman will have a higher alcohol concentration than a man of the same weight, assuming identical consumption.

Wisconsin OWI/ DUI Laws | Milwaukee Drunk Driving Defense Lawyer

Proportionally, women have a greater percentage of their body weight in fatty tissue. Because there are few blood vessels in fat, women have less blood in their bodies than men of the same weight. Less blood means a higher alcohol concentration for the same consumption.

That's why calculations concerning alcohol concentrations must always start with the subject's gender. In training its Breathalyzer and Intoxilyzer operators in years past, Wisconsin's Department of Transportation has employed charts that illustrate the absorption and elimination of alcohol over time according to the gender and body weight of the individual. You can see and use those charts -- they're at our "Curve" Defenses page in this website. These tests are designed for failure. All people are inherently imbalanced when standing on one leg or walking heel-to-toe.

That's why you have two legs, attached side-by-side. The only creature that normally stands on but one leg is a flamingo. Police officers practice in their training how to do this task, so that they don't fall down when demonstrating it. Police still use the "finger to nose test" -- even though it was discredited by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over fifteen years ago. NHTSA established that no one -- sober or intoxicated -- can reliably do that test. Police officers learn as part of their "standardized field sobriety test" training that the test isn't reliable.

Yet police still routinely employ this bogus "test. Don't feel bad if you didn't do well on the police "field sobriety tests. The ethanol level in your blood is a by-product of the broken down alcohol that you consumed. BAC and BAL are measured in a scientific manner that calculates the ratio of ethanol to blood within your system. Therefore, if you have a BAC of.