DUI cases are almost always more complex than they first appear. So in answer to your last question, if it is something that you can afford, retaining counsel in advance would be advisable. Additionally, you can anticipate being charged with a refusal, along with the underlying DUI charge.
If you refused the tests, you should get a lawyer ASAP. You will need to request a hearing with the DMV to contest the license suspension, which can be 1 year for refusing the test if you have no priors.
Many times, the DA tries to penalize someone for refusing a chemical test even harsher because of the refusal.
The thing to remember is that tr refusal must be "knowing". This means that you must be advised of the potential consequences of that refusal in for it to be considered one.
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You already have answers from three fine lawyers. As someone you cannot hire, I join in their response that you need to get a lawyer right away, one who knows dui defense.
Often people think that because it isn’t a murder case, a drunk driving case is simple. Nothing could be further from the truth. These cases can be among the most complex a criminal defense lawyer handles. The government is willing to spend an incredible amount of money to convict you though. They will have expert witnesses available for consultation and trial.
That you have been charged or that some contraption says your alcohol level was at a certain level does not mean that you are guilty. It certainly does not mean that you can be proven guilty using competent, valid evidence.
Field sobriety “tests” are designed to give police a reason to arrest. You cannot “pass” them. The police will admit that almost a third of healthy young adults who take these tests without any alcohol will be judged to be “under the influence” – and that assumes they are properly administered!
After even a first drunk driving conviction, you may face employment discrimination. You will certainly be charged higher for insurance. Having such a conviction will also make you a target for drunk driving arrest in future interactions with police. You will automatically become a suspect.
You will want a lawyer who is familiar with field sobriety “tests,” perhaps one who is certified to administer these tests. You will want a lawyer familiar with the weaknesses of the contraptions that are used to report alcohol or drug levels. You want an experienced trial lawyer, used to cross-examining police officers. Police officers are practiced, experienced witnesses.
That is, you want an experienced drunk driving defense lawyer, whether you call the offense DUI, OWI, DWI, OUI, or drugged driving.
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--- Ten Days to Save Your License - Administrative Suspension and Refusals in Madison (Dane County) Wisconsin
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If it was a refusal, DMV can still take action (for the refusal), but it'll be a question as to whether the prosecution can prove you were either 1) under the influence, or 2) at or above a .08. They need the BAC for that. Also, the refusal is an enhancement to the DUI charge. So if they can't prove the DUI, then they'd never get the chance to prove the refusal (again this is for the Court criminal case).
You can look on the pink slip the officer gave you. Towards the top, there are boxes for .08, .01, refusal, etc. See what box is checked, and that may give you some more idea of where this sits right now.
You have 10 days from the date of arrest to set up a DMV hearing, FYI. Lots to look into.
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Yes, you should get a lawyer. It does not need to be repeated that you face potentially serious consequences.
As my colleagues have mentioned you will have to contend with the DMV as well as the courts.
Also as mentioned, if in fact your refusal was "knowingly given," you will be charged with 23152(a) as well as the special allegation of the refusal. VC 23152(a) is defined as "driving under the influence" of an alcoholic beverage, drug, or combination of both. "Driving under the influence" has a very technical meaning and the officers can point to your driving, objective signs of impairment, FSTs, or a combination of the above to prove that you were not operating your vehicle like a sober person would under like circumstances.
The details of the driving pattern, objective signs of impairment, and your performance on the FSTs, if in fact they were given, will be listed on the police report. As such, it is important that you show any attorney the police report so you can get an honest assessment of your case.
This is all complicated if you have had a DUI in the past or have any other limitations on your license or driving.
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First off you must request the APS hearing through DMV within 10 days. If it is found that you refused to submit to the test DMV will suspend your CDL for 1 year. You should absolutely hire an attorney. An attorney will know how to address the issues in both the DMV hearing and the criminal court proceedings.
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