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3 common questions after an OWI arrest in Wisconsin

One of the most important things to understand if you have been charged with OWI in Wisconsin is this: no OWI conviction is automatic. You have a right to fight the charge, and you have an opportunity in the brief window after your arrest to protect your driver’s license. The main thing you need to do now is contact an experienced OWI defense lawyer as soon as possible. Don’t go with an out-of-state lawyer. Go with an attorney who handles OWI cases in your area. For more on that, please see our overview of “What to do if charged with OWI in Wisconsin.”

Here are three important questions that people often have about OWI charges:

1) Can I refuse the blood or breath test?

Technically, in Wisconsin, you can refuse breath and blood testing, but that may not be a good idea, depending on the facts of your case. If you refuse, you may be risking the automatic suspension of your driver’s license. Why? Wisconsin has an “implied consent” law. That means, if you are arrested for OWI, the arresting police officer can make you choose whether to submit to a breath or blood test. If you refuse after being read the Informing the Accused Form, your driving privileges may be revoked.

2) If my BAC is 0.08% or over, am I automatically guilty?

No. In the United States, we do not have automatic convictions. We have trials by jury. And with an attorney’s help, you can challenge an OWI charge. Depending on the specific facts of your case, there may be multiple ways to fight the charge, including arguing that the breath test was wrong or the arresting officer did not have reasonable suspicion to stop you. In other words, don’t simply give up. Talk to an OWI attorney with a long record of success.

3) Even if I intend to eventually plead guilty, should I still contact an attorney?

Yes. An experienced OWI defense lawyer will obtain and review all the relevant materials in your case, including: police reports, dispatch records, squad video, and maintenance records for the blood/breath test machine. Remember, the police and prosecutor are only interested in telling one side of the story: their side. A skilled OWI defense lawyer may find important aspects of your case that need to be considered in your defense. Whatever you do, don’t give up without a fight. Get in touch with an OWI defense lawyer as soon as possible.