Being convicted of OWI in Wisconsin can have heavy consequences, including possible jail time, steep fines and the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license. You can take steps to defend against those outcomes. In addition to hiring an experienced OWI defense attorney as soon as possible, here are three basic things that people can do to protect their rights and future:
Respectfully assert your right to remain silent
You have the right to remain silent when stopped by police, and that is a right you should never ignore. Even if you are inclined to be helpful, saying the wrong thing to police when you don’t have an attorney present can be detrimental. From the moment you are pulled over, simply refrain from giving the police any unnecessary information. Keep in mind that the police will try to use everything you say against you. If you say you’ve only had a couple drinks and aren’t drunk, the police will assume you’re lying. If you say you’ve had more than a couple drinks, the police will consider that a confession. Police officers are very good at twisting words around to imply guilt, so be sure to respectfully assert your right to remain silent.
Take detailed notes
Can you remember every snack and meal you ate last week? What about what clothes you wore every day last week? It can be hard to remember critical pieces of information, so to help you remember, make sure you write down everything you remember about the traffic stop. For example, when and where were you pulled over? What did you tell the officer, if anything, about your consumption of food and drink? Did the officer administer any sobriety tests? If so, what kind? Try to write these things down as soon as possible, while your memory is fresh. Effective OWI defense strategies are often based on the answers to such questions.
Were friends or family with you before you drove? Were there other people who saw you before, during or after your traffic stop? If so, your attorney will want to document those individuals’ testimony immediately. You may have friends or family who are willing to testify on your behalf in court, and credible witness testimony can be very helpful when defending against an OWI charge. Eyewitness memory can quickly fade, so let your attorney know as soon as possible if you think witness testimony may be helpful.
For more on OWI defense in Wisconsin, please see our previous posts: