The OWI Process in Wisconsin
If you are going to fight conviction, there are several steps you will need to take with your attorney
Getting Pulled OverWhen you first saw police lights in your rear-view mirror, you probably asked the following question: What did I do wrong? The answer to this question can vary significantly. The police could have stopped you for speeding, a burnt-out registration light, or a miscellaneous equipment violation. In fact, the police could have stopped you for any road violation so long as they had reasonable suspicion that you were in violation of a motor-vehicle law. While the initial stop of your vehicle is typically valid, the officer's subsequent interactions with you are highly regulated and must follow a strict series of rules. If the officer proceeds with field sobriety tests or a blood draw incorrectly, the evidence can be thrown out and your case could be dismissed. When you meet with your OWI attorney, be sure to go over this initial interaction with care. In fact, you may want to jot down exactly what you remember about the incident. These details could make or break your case.
ArrestThe moment of arrest is also a critical stage of your case. Officers do not have the power to arrest unless they possess probable cause to believe that you have violated the law. If the officer skips a step in the process, doesn't follow proper protocol, or fails to properly verify a test result, your arrest could be deemed invalid and your case could be dismissed for lack of probable cause. The term "probable cause" is the subject of many rules and regulations and you should seek the professional services of an OWI attorney to review your case. Again, just like the initial contact, be sure to write-down what you remember about the incident. If the officer(s) made a critical misstep, your case could be dismissed outright. When you are charged/arrested for OWI, the officer typically takes your license away from you and gives you two pieces of paper. One piece (typically pink in color) informs you that you have been arrested for driving with a prohibited alcohol concentration in your blood and serves as a temporary driver's license for a period of 30 days. The other paper (usually yellow) is a form to protest the automatic suspension of your licesnse--an event that will occur at the end of the 30 day period. This form is especially important if you want to be able to drive while awaiting trial.
The Process of Booking and License RevocationFollowing your arrest, you will likely be booked thrown into a holding cell for the evening. Now is the time to call an OWI attorney. Though the process may come as a shock, it's important to remember that the state is already in the process of revoking your license. In fact, you only have 10 days before your right to appeal the automatic suspension of your license evaporates. If you do nothing, you will be released from holding the following day (likely on a signature bond) with only 29 days of drive time left. Don't let this happen to you. With the help of an OWI attorney, you can successfully negotiate with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to keep your license until the outcome of your trial is determined. Worse, if you don't save your license right away, it may continue to be revoked even if you received a "not guilty" verdict or charges were dismissed.