Can You Beat a Drunk Driving (DUI or OWI) Case in Wisconsin?
You got arrested for drunk driving. You are facing a DUI charge (technically, an operating while intoxicated (OWI) charge in Wisconsin), and you are facing all of the various penalties that go along with it. So, you need to know: Can you beat a Wisconsin drunk driving case? Or, is it time to accept the consequences of your arrest?
There are several potential ways to beat a drunk driving case in Wisconsin. As a result, under no circumstances should you throw in the towel. Even if you were driving drunk, you may have defenses available. Additionally, even if you cannot avoid a conviction entirely, fighting your DUI charge could result in a reduced sentence—and this could significantly mitigate the costs and other consequences you incur.
10 Potential Ways to Fight a Wisconsin DUI or OWI Charge
Every drunk driving case is unique, and the defenses that are available to someone else might not be available to you. On the same token, you may be able to assert defenses that were not available to someone you know who got convicted of DUI.
To find out what defenses you can use to fight your DUI, you will need to discuss the details of your case with an attorney. With this in mind, here are 10 potential ways to fight a drunk driving charge in Wisconsin:
1. Challenging Your Traffic Stop
The police cannot pull you over just because they want to. In order to conduct a traffic stop, the police must have “reasonable suspicion” to believe that the driver (or a passenger) is engaged in (or has been engaged in) unlawful activity. If the police pulled you over without reasonable suspicion—including if they pulled you over based on your race, color, or ethnicity—then you may be entitled to have all of the government’s evidence excluded from your drunk driving case. Without evidence, the prosecution won’t be able to secure a conviction.
2. Challenging Your Arrest
In addition to challenging your traffic stop, it may also be possible to challenge your arrest. While a traffic stop requires reasonable suspicion, an arrest requires “probable cause.” If the police did not have reason to believe that you were driving drunk but arrested you anyway, this could also provide grounds for having the government’s evidence excluded from your case.
3. Challenging Your Field Sobriety Test Results
If you took the field sobriety tests (FSTs) during your drunk driving stop, the prosecution will almost certainly try to use your test results against you. However, it is possible to challenge field sobriety test results in various ways. Did the arresting officer carefully observe the entire test? Was the ground uneven or unsteady? Was the area where you performed the tests dimly lit? These are just a few examples of numerous potential issues that could call your FST results into question.
4. Challenging Your Breathalyzer Test Result
Just as there are several possible ways to challenge FST results, there are several possible ways to challenge breathalyzer test results as well. Did the arresting officer provide all required information before administering the test? When was the last time the breathalyzer device was calibrated? Do you have a health or medical condition that could have impacted your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reading? Again, these are just a few examples of numerous potential issues your lawyer may be able to raise in order to fight your DUI.
5. Asserting the “Rising BAC” Defense
When you consume alcohol, your BAC does not rise immediately. Rather, it rises gradually over time. Thus, if you drove shortly after drinking, it is possible that your BAC was below the legal limit when you were behind the wheel even though you registered 0.08% or above on the breathalyzer. This is known as the “rising BAC” defense, and it will prove effective for preventing the prosecution from meeting its burden of proof in many drunk driving cases.
6. Providing an Alternate Explanation for Your Appearance
In addition to FST and breathalyzer test results, police officers may consider various other factors when deciding whether to make a drunk driving arrest. This includes factors related to your appearance. However, while bloodshot eyes, a flushed face, and other appearances can be indicative of alcohol intoxication, they can have a variety of other explanations as well.
7. Providing an Alternate Explanation for Your Driving Behavior
Likewise, while drifting from your lane or slowing down unexpectedly can be signs of impairment, they can also have a variety of other explanations. Did you see something on the road? Was your mind wandering? Did your passenger interfere with your driving? Here too, there are multiple potential explanations besides being drunk behind the wheel.
8. Asserting Your Right to Remain Silent
One of the best ways to protect yourself after a drunk driving arrest is to assert your right to remain silent. It is true that anything you say can be used against you (although there are some exceptions), so staying silent will limit the prosecution’s options for securing a conviction.
9. Asserting Your Right to an Attorney
When you get arrested for drunk driving in Wisconsin, it is extremely important to assert your right to an attorney. Hiring an experienced attorney will give you the best chance to beat your DUI, and you should schedule a free consultation as soon as possible.
10. Raising Questions about the Prosecution’s Case
Finally, regardless of the circumstances involved in your case, the prosecution has the burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If you can raise questions about the prosecution’s case (i.e. by questioning the validity of your BAC reading), this alone can be enough to avoid a finding of guilt.
Get a Free Consultation about Your Wisconsin Drunk Driving Case
Have you been arrested for drunk driving? If so, Madison DUI attorney Stephen Mays can help. To find out if you may be able to beat your Wisconsin drunk driving case, call 608-257-0440 or request a free consultation online now.