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The Facts About OWI In Wisconsin

Q: What do I do if I'm arrested for drunk driving?

A: Contact an attorney right away. After all, the police and prosecutors are not going to wait to build their case against you, so you need to act fast to ensure your rights are protected.

Q: Can I refuse a breath test if arrested by police?

A: If you are arrested for drunk driving — otherwise known as operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) in Wisconsin — the law says you have already given consent to chemical testing by simply driving on a public highway. So, while you are certainly free to refuse a Breathalyzer test, you can face serious penalties for doing so, including a lengthy license revocation.

Q: What should one do to save his or her driver's license?

A: Demand an administrative suspension hearing or a refusal hearing, depending on whether or not you submitted to a police blood or breath test, or refused to do so. If you don't request a suspension/refusal hearing, you'll lose your license regardless of the outcome in court. Don't wait until your court date — act immediately!

Q: Will my insurance premiums increase if convicted?

A: Yes, depending on your insurance provider. However, a drunk driving conviction impacts the liability limit your insurance provider will allow you to purchase, posing a greater risk to your family's financial security. This is simply another reason you should always consider challenging drunk driving charges.

Q: Is a drunk driving conviction a felony?

A: It depends. Even though a first offense typically carries no jail sentence, it can result in other significant OWI penalties. In addition, while second and third offenses are usually categorized as criminal misdemeanors, beginning in 2017, a fourth offense can be a Class H felony. If there was a passenger in your car under the age of 16 at the time of the offense, maximum penalties can also double — meaning lower offenses may now be felony-level offenses.

Q: Will a drunk driving conviction stay on my record?

A: At this time, first-time offenses involving the blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) of .08 to .099 percent are purged after 10 years. Otherwise, any drunk driving convictions remain on your driving record permanently.

For answers to any other questions you may have regarding OWI-related offenses in the Milwaukee area, contact The Law Offices of Thomas Marola in West Allis today and receive a free consultation from an experienced criminal defense lawyer. We can help explain your rights and walk you through the often-intimidating criminal justice system. You can reach us online or by phone at 414-327-5800.

Your criminal defense is the most important thing in your life right now. We will fight for your rights and freedom.

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