With great schools, plenty of green space, and a good mix of urban and suburban life, Middleton is known as one of the best places to live in Wisconsin. Unfortunately, the roadways can be unsafe, as anyone who traverses the nearby stretch of US-51 between Anderson Road and SR-30 knows.

Because accidents can be amplified by the presence of alcohol, Wisconsin is strict when it comes to convicting DUI (driving under the influence) and OWI (operating while intoxicated) offenses. In Wisconsin, it’s illegal for drivers over the age of 21 to operate a motor vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher.

Although arrests have been in steady decline since the early 2000s, there are still nearly 2,000 OWI arrests monthly and over 23,000 convictions annually. When you’re arrested for a DUI/OWI, you may fear you have no chance of beating the charges, and you probably can’t on your own. You need a qualified DWI/OWI attorney to help you develop a sound legal strategy.

Maciolek Law Group proudly serves Middleton, WI, residents accused of DUI and OWI offenses. You deserve a strong defense. Our experienced attorneys will guide you through the process and help you fight conviction and unwanted penalties.

How Do Officers Determine Whether You’re Impaired?

When you’re pulled over due to moving violations or suspicious behavior like weaving, the officer will follow certain procedures to determine whether you’re driving under the influence. The first step is to look for signs like glassy eyes or slurred speech. If these are present, you may be asked to take a field sobriety test.

This could mean walking a line, heel-to-toe, or reciting the alphabet backward, for example. These tests are designed to assess your level of impairment. If the officer determines you are intoxicated, you could be arrested and charged.

You can refuse this test, but the officer might ask for a breath, blood, or chemical test, and the law requires you to comply. If you refuse these tests, you are subject to additional penalties, whether you are ultimately convicted of DUI/OWI charges or not.

What to Expect When You’re Charged With Impaired Driving

If an officer has enough evidence to charge you with DWI/OWI, you’ll receive a citation. This could be an A ticket for OWI, a B ticket for operating with a prohibited alcohol concentration (PAC) of 0.08% or higher, or an AM ticket, noting the presence of a restricted controlled substance in your blood. 

You will also likely be arrested on the spot, as you are not in good condition to drive away from the scene.

Notice of Intent to Suspend

Along with a citation, you’ll receive a Notice of Intent to Suspend. This document may be provided at the time of arrest or mailed to you once law enforcement gets the results of your blood test. The notice informs you that your driving privileges will be suspended for six months, starting 30 days from the date the notice was issued.

Requesting an Administrative Review Hearing

You will have 10 or 13 days to request an administrative review hearing, depending on whether the Notice of Intent to Suspend was issued at the time of arrest or mailed. This hearing will determine whether the officers who charged you followed statutory requirements, such as having probable cause to make a traffic stop and “informing the accused” before issuing BAC testing, for example.

The hearing may be conducted in person, over the phone, or with a non-appearance document review. If it is determined that the officer acted appropriately, the suspension will stand, although you can choose to appeal to a judicial review or apply for an occupational license.

Notice of Intent to Revoke

If you refuse a requested breath, blood, or chemical test, you will receive a Notice of Intent to Revoke, which is issued in person (not by mail). It is also submitted to the court. This notice informs you that your driving privileges will be suspended for one year, starting 30 days from the notice date. You will have 10 days to request a hearing with the court.

Attending a Court Hearing

Regardless of the type of ticket issued (A, B, or AM), you may choose to attend a hearing to fight the violation you were charged with. This will likely be held at the Dane County Circuit Court or a state trial court. During the pre-trial process, you’ll make an initial appearance and meet with your attorney and the prosecutor to discuss your case.

At this time, pre-trial motions may be filed, such as a motion to dismiss the case. Depending on the evidence, you may be offered a plea deal or the case could be dismissed.

If you make it to trial, each side will present arguments and evidence. A judge or jury will either convict you of DUI/OWI — and you’ll face sentencing — or find you not guilty, and charges will be dismissed. You have the right to appeal a conviction.

Possible Penalties for DUI/OWI Conviction

When you are convicted of driving impaired, you will face other penalties in addition to losing your driving privileges. For starters, you will likely have to undergo an assessment and complete a treatment plan known as a driver safety plan (DSP). Drivers with a BAC at or above 0.15% who refuse a chemical test must have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on their vehicle.

In Wisconsin, your first OWI is considered a civil offense, not a criminal one, but there are still penalties. Barring extenuating circumstances, you won’t face any jail time but you’ll have to pay a fine of $150 to $300. If a minor under 16 is in the vehicle, the fine increases to $350 to $1,100, your license revocation could last 12 to 18 months, and you could be sentenced to five days to six months in jail.

If you cause an injury with a first OWI, you’ll face fines of $300 to $2,000, license revocation of 1 to 2 years, and 30 days to a year in jail. If you are convicted of homicide, you’ll face up to $100,000 in fines, license revocation of 5+ years, and a Class D felony that carries a sentence of up to 25 years. The penalties increase significantly for all charges if you have any previous DUI/OWI convictions.

Fighting DUI/OWI Charges

Everyone makes mistakes — even authorities. Perhaps you were driving erratically when you got pulled over but you hadn’t been drinking. The officer may have cited symptoms of intoxication when arresting you or noted a poor field performance test, but there are many possible explanations, such as fatigue or poor coordination. In some cases, officers don’t follow proper procedures.

Or maybe you had a beer with friends and you felt sober before you got behind the wheel. Regardless, several strategies could help you fight conviction after your arrest. With the help of a knowledgeable and experienced attorney, you have the best chance to devise a defense based on the evidence in your case.

Maciolek Law Group Is on Your Side

We’re not here to judge you. In the eyes of the law, you’re innocent until proven guilty, and we’ll provide the strong legal defense you deserve. Whether your BAC was within the legal limit to drive, the arresting officers failed to follow procedure, or there’s no evidence that you were intoxicated, we’ll help you fight a wrongful conviction.

Have you been charged with a DUI/OWI in Middleton? The qualified and compassionate attorneys at Maciolek Law Group are here to help. Contact us now to discuss your case.

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