In Wisconsin, Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) is an offense that can bring severe penalties to those convicted both legally and otherwise. In addition to costs and possible jail time, driving restrictions and the loss of your driver’s license can have huge implications on your employment and lifestyle well into the future. Despite the potential consequences, partnering with an experienced Wisconsin OWI attorney knowledgeable in the law and court system can help you possibly reduce your charges or have them dismissed altogether. Here are 3 Ways to Get an OWI Dismissed in Wisconsin.
While there’s no guarantee your situation presents a viable opportunity to have your OWI charges dismissed, here are three common defenses attorneys routinely use in Wisconsin courts:
1. Challenge the legality of the stop
While it’s the least common of the four defenses listed, there are instances where police can be shown to have unlawfully stopped your vehicle or didn’t have the probable cause to do so.
Here in Wisconsin, police can only stop your vehicle for one of the following reasons:
- Violating a traffic law
- Erratic or irregular driving behavior
- An equipment violation such as a broken headlight
- Appearing to fit the description of a stolen vehicle or suspect involved in a crime
- OWI checkpoint
Given the broad nature of probable cause, challenging the legality of a stop typically requires there to be indication that the stop was random or was based on something unrelated to breaking the law such as racial profiling.
2. Challenge probable cause for a breath test
If you were stopped by police and denied being intoxicated by a controlled substance like drugs or alcohol, the officer may ask you to perform a field sobriety test (FST) if they suspect you are inebriated. You are not obligated to perform these tests and in fact, they’re failed by many people even when they’re sober.
If you refuse to perform an FST in Wisconsin, the officer may request you take a breath test based on your conduct and demeanor.
If you refuse to take this test, you will risk automatically losing your license for at least one year. In order to stop that automatic revocation, you must show up to your license suspension hearing and demonstrate one of the following:
- The police didn’t have a valid reason for stopping you
- There was no probable cause to request breath or chemical testing
- The results of your breath or chemical test are invalid
- You had a legitimate reason for refusing testing
- There was no probable cause that you were under the influence of a controlled substance
3. Challenge the results of the breath or chemical test
Many of the OWI cases that are successfully dismissed are done so by challenging the accuracy and/or validity of the breath or chemical test.
In Wisconsin, experienced OWI attorneys know exactly how the devices behind these tests operate and in some cases, can challenge the way in which the test was given, or the mechanics of the devices themselves.
In addition to improper calibration of a device, a medical condition may also be shown to affect the accuracy and reliability of test results.
If you’ve been arrested and charged with an OWI in Wisconsin, it’s crucially important to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Beloit, Wisconsin immediately. Contact the Fitzgerald Law Firm today for a free consultation. We understand that meetings may not be possible during traditional business hours, so please let us know a time that works for you and we’ll do our best to accommodate you. Click here to submit a free consultation form.