Being charged with driving under the influence could put your license and freedom at risk. Because accidents involving intoxicated drivers can often result in catastrophic injuries and fatalities, Wisconsin doles out stiff penalties to those charged with these offenses. 

If an officer of the Madison Police Department stopped you and cited you for operating while intoxicated (OWI) also known as DUI, it’s crucial that you contact a Wisconsin DUI lawyer. At Maciolek Law Group, our team of experienced attorneys will work to help you beat these charges. Learn more about what being charged with operating while intoxicated means and how we can help. 

Wisconsin DUI Laws

As it is throughout the rest of the country, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is 0.08%. Beyond that, you’re considered too intoxicated to operate a vehicle and could be charged with a DUI. 

In Wisconsin, it’s also illegal to drive while under the influence of an intoxicant, a controlled substance, or with a detectable amount of a restricted controlled substance in your blood. A driver under 21 years of age must maintain complete sobriety when operating a vehicle. 

It’s also important to know that those who’ve been previously convicted of three or more OWIs can’t have a BAC higher than 0.02%. Commercial drivers, too, have a lower legal BAC limit (0.04%). 

The penalties involved in being charged with an OWI depend on whether it’s your first offense and what your BAC level was. The first offense is generally viewed as a civil offense and carries fines of anywhere from $150 to $300, along with a $355 surcharge. You could risk a license suspension, however.

The second and third DUI offenses are misdemeanors, which means the penalties increase significantly, with possible fines ranging from $600 to $2,000, plus surcharges and other costs. You could be imprisoned for up to 12 months and suffer a license revocation of up to three years. 

A fourth OWI conviction is a felony if it occurs within five years of the previous charge. You would have to pay between $600 and $2,000 plus surcharges, as well as face jail time ranging from 30 days to a year. Your license could be revoked for two years. Fifth and subsequent convictions are felonies that carry jail terms of up to three years. 

How a Madison DUI Lawyer Can Help

You don’t want to face DUI charges without the support of an experienced attorney. It’s not enough to rely on a public defender. When you contact us at Maciolek Law Group, you get the support you need throughout the entire process. 

One of the first things that we can do is ensure that you understand your rights. This is important, especially if you’re not sure if the police officer who stopped you behaved appropriately or followed protocol. 

We will look closely at the traffic stop that led to the charge. We’ll ensure that the officer had a real reason for stopping you. Otherwise, any evidence that they obtained could be inadmissible. That is sometimes enough to get your charges dismissed. 

We also focus on field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests are highly unreliable, so if you submitted to a Breathalyzer test, we will investigate to ensure that the results are legitimate. 

Our team will also put together a strategic and personalized defense. That’s not something that a public defender will offer, which puts you at risk of being convicted. Most of the time, a public defender will work to get you a deal, but that means pleading. 

Although you may be getting lighter penalties, pleading might not be the right option for your particular case. If, for example, the police officer who stopped you committed a procedural mistake, having an experienced criminal defense lawyer could mean getting your charges completely dropped. 

You also want to remember that a public defender won’t represent you in DMV proceedings — only in criminal court. It’s not enough to have them helping you only when you step into Dane County Courthouse. We help you through the entire process. 

Steps to Take if You’re Stopped on Suspicion of OWI

The experience of being stopped by the police is never pleasant, and it can be even more frightening if the officer suspects you of operating while intoxicated. The first thing you need to remember is to do your best to remain calm. 

Be polite toward the officer, even if they’re not polite to you. Being in any way aggressive or despondent can be used against you later on. Don’t try to talk your way out of the stop, and don’t argue. In fact, try to speak only when necessary. 

Usually, the officer will ask you to take at least one field sobriety test. In Wisconsin, you have a right to refuse to take these tests unless you’re a commercial driver. Keep in mind, however, that under implied consent, you’ll have to submit to a test once you’ve been arrested. 

It’s crucial to remain polite while you’re being arrested, too, which will happen if you refuse the test. As soon as custodial interrogation begins, you have the right to speak to an attorney. 

Custodial interrogation means being questioned after the arrest. The traffic stop is not an interrogation, so you don’t have the right to speak to a lawyer when the officer first stops you. 

If the police follow protocol, your right to an attorney is triggered after the breath and blood test at the station once you’ve been arrested. That’s when the police begin the Alcohol Influence Report, which requires that you get a Miranda warning. From then on, don’t answer questions and wait for your attorney to arrive. 

In some instances, the police don’t follow protocol and begin asking questions after you’ve been arrested but before the Alcohol Influence Report. If that’s what happens, you have the right to an attorney earlier in the process. If you’re not advised of those rights or given the Miranda warning, anything you say will be inadmissible.

Throughout the entire process, from the arrest to the interrogation, you need to remain calm. This can significantly affect how you’re treated by the justice system. 

Contact Wisconsin OWI Lawyers 

Getting stopped and arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence can be a traumatic experience, but there’s help available. With experienced lawyers by your side, you have the chance to beat the charges or get the penalties significantly reduced. 

It’s never a good idea to accept a public defender, so hire criminal defense lawyers who are ready to fight for you. We can help at Maciolek Law Group. 

We have decades of experience helping people dealing with all manner of criminal charges, including DUIs. Whether it’s your first offense or a subsequent one, having a team of lawyers providing guidance can mean a better outcome. 

We’ll assess your case during your free consultation. If we decide to work together, we’ll get right to work on your behalf. We conduct jail visits and offer flexible scheduling to be able to provide the quality assistance our clients need. 

Rely on lawyers for whom you’re not just another case. Contact Maciolek Law Group to schedule a consultation with an experienced OWI defense attorney. 

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