10 Key DUI Questions to Ask (and Answer) When Facing a DUI in Wisconsin

10 Key DUI Questions to Ask (and Answer) When Facing a DUI in Wisconsin

When facing a DUI charge in Wisconsin, it is critical to ensure that you are making informed decisions. There is a lot you need to know; and, if you make uninformed decisions, you could find yourself facing unnecessary consequences.

Making informed decisions starts with understanding the questions you need to ask. With this in mind, here are 10 key DUI questions to ask (and answer) when facing a DUI charge in Wisconsin:

Question #1: Which Type of DUI Charge Are You Facing?

There are two types of drunk driving charges in Wisconsin. If you took the breathalyzer during your DUI stop and blew above the legal limit, you are most likely being charged with prohibited alcohol concentration (PAC). If you refused the breathalyzer, couldn’t generate a reading, or blew under the legal limit, you are most likely being charged with operating while intoxicated (OWI).

While PAC and OWI charges are similar in some respects, there are also several key differences. As a result, determining whether you are facing a PAC charge or an OWI charge is one of the first steps toward determining what defenses you have available.

Question #2: Are You Facing Any Other Charges?

Along with determining whether you are facing a PAC charge or an OWI charge, you also need to determine whether you are facing any other charges as a result of your drunk driving arrest. There are several possibilities, including (but not limited to):

  • An implied consent violation (chemical test refusal)
  • An open container violation
  • Reckless driving and/or other traffic violations
  • Causing injury while OWI
  • Causing great bodily harm while OWI
  • Homicide while OWI

Each of these charges carries different penalties, and some of these charges are far more serious than others. But, you need to take all of the charges against you seriously, as any type of conviction can lead to financial costs and other consequences.

Question #3: When Is Your First Court Date?

Another key piece of information you need after a DUI arrest is your first court date. You need to make plans to be there on time, as failing to do so can have consequences regardless of whether you were driving under the influence. If you don’t show up, you can be charged with failure to appear, and this can result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest.

Question #4: What Penalties Are You Facing?

Understanding the penalties you are facing will also help you make informed decisions about your defense. At a minimum, you are facing several hundred dollars in fines and surcharges plus a six to nine-month driver’s license suspension. But, if you are a repeat offender, or if you are being charged with causing a serious accident while driving under the influence, the penalties you are facing could be far greater.

Question #5: What Additional Consequences Are You Facing?

Along with court-imposed penalties, a PAC or OWI conviction can lead to various other consequences as well. These include everything from increased auto insurance premiums to disciplinary action if you are a licensed professional. Between increased insurance premiums, consequences for your career, and other financial costs, the collateral consequences of a drunk driving conviction can far exceed the costs you face in court.

Question #6: What Defenses Can You Assert in Court?

Given all that you have at stake, you must fight your PAC or OWI charge by all means available. Once you know what charge (or charges) you are facing, then you can determine which defenses you can use to protect yourself. Here, too, there are lots of possibilities—and the key is to ensure that you put together the strongest defense strategy possible in light of all relevant facts and circumstances.

Question #7: Do You Have Other Options for Avoiding a DUI Conviction?

Let’s say you were driving under the influence and prosecutors have the evidence they need to prove it. In this scenario, fighting your PAC or OWI charge in court might not be your best option. Instead, it might be best to consider another option—such as negotiating a plea bargain or entering into one of Wisconsin’s pre-trial diversion programs. Negotiating a plea bargain typically means facing the reduced consequences of a “wet reckless,” while entering into a pre-trial diversion program allows eligible defendants to avoid a conviction entirely.

Question #8: What Is Your Best Option Based on the Available Evidence?

Examining all of the available evidence will allow you to make an informed decision about how best to approach your case. This is a critical decision that could impact your life for years to come, so you need to ensure that you make it wisely.

Question #9: What Can a DUI Defense Lawyer Do to Help You?

When you are facing a DUI charge in Wisconsin, hiring an experienced defense lawyer is the best way to ensure that you are making informed decisions about your case. There are lots of ways an experienced defense lawyer will be able to help you, and you should schedule a free consultation to learn more as soon as possible.

Question #10: How Much Will You Pay for Your Legal Representation?

When you schedule a free consultation with a DUI defense lawyer, you should be able to find out exactly how much your legal representation is going to cost you. There should be no hidden costs or fees, and you should be able to weigh the costs of your legal representation against the potential costs of trying to handle your Wisconsin drunk driving case on your own.

Contact Us for a Free and Confidential Consultation with a Madison DUI Lawyer

If you are facing a drunk driving (PAC or OWI) charge in Wisconsin and would like to know more about your case, we encourage you to get in touch. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with a Madison DUI lawyer at Mays Law Office, please call 608-257-0440 or request an appointment online today.

Facing a DUI as a Licensed Professional in Wisconsin

Facing a DUI as a Licensed Professional in Wisconsin

 

While DUI charges carry steep penalties in Wisconsin, these aren’t the only potential consequences of a drunk driving arrest. Getting arrested for DUI can impact your life in a variety of other ways as well—especially if you are a licensed professional.

For physicians, pharmacists, registered nurses, attorneys, accountants, and other licensed professionals, DUI arrests can have serious implications for their careers. These arrests (like others) can trigger professional disciplinary action with potential outcomes ranging from reprimands to license revocation. As a result, a comprehensive and informed defense strategy is key, and licensed professionals must ensure that the decisions they make in their DUI cases do not put their licenses in jeopardy.

5 Important Considerations for Licensed Professionals Facing DUI Charges in Wisconsin

Here are five important considerations for licensed professionals facing DUI charges in Wisconsin:

1. You May Have an Obligation to Report Your DUI

Most professional licensing boards require that their members report DUIs promptly. Typically, this means separately reporting both your arrest and your conviction (if you accept a plea bargain or get convicted in court). If you enter into Wisconsin’s Pre-Charge Diversion Program, you may have an obligation to report this to your professional licensing board as well.

2. DUI Arrests Can Lead to Professional Discipline Even if They Don’t Lead to a Conviction

Along with understanding that you may need to report your DUI, one of the other most important things to understand about your situation is that a DUI arrest can lead to professional discipline even if it doesn’t result in a conviction. Why? Because professional licensing boards apply different standards than Wisconsin’s county courts. In court, prosecutors must prove your guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This means that there must be no question that you are guilty of driving under the influence.

But, professional licensing boards typically use the “preponderance of the evidence” standard. This means the evidence only needs to suggest that it is more likely than not that you violated the governing rules of professional conduct. The rules governing your profession may also impose discipline for conduct short of driving under the influence such as drinking to excess, drinking in public, or using illegal drugs. As a result, any defenses you can assert in your DUI case won’t necessarily protect you in your professional disciplinary proceeding. Protecting your professional license may require a very different approach, and it will be critical to have a clear understanding of what exactly you need to defend against in both proceedings.

3. Failing to Report Your DUI Could Lead to Disciplinary Action

If you don’t report your DUI to your professional licensing board, this could have licensing consequences of its own. Failing to make a required disclosure can be considered a lack of candor under most professional licensing rules, and this itself can be grounds for professional discipline. This is true whether or not you eventually get convicted of driving under the influence. As a result, it is important to satisfy your reporting obligations—and to focus on preparing a sound defense instead of hoping to sidestep disciplinary action.

4. You Must Be Very Careful About How You Approach Your DUI Case

Due to the significant differences between DUI cases and professional disciplinary proceedings, you must be very careful about how you approach your DUI case. While certain statements and actions might be beneficial in your DUI case, these same statements and actions could potentially increase your exposure to professional discipline.

The reverse is also true. If you admit to driving under the influence during your professional disciplinary case, prosecutors may be able to use your admission against you in court. Again, an informed approach is critical, and you will need to work closely with your defense attorney to ensure that you do not say or do anything that could increase your risk of facing criminal penalties or losing your professional license.

5. Even if You Don’t Lose Your Professional License, a DUI Conviction Can Still Have Negative Career Consequences

Getting arrested for DUI (and even getting convicted of DUI) doesn’t necessarily mean that you will lose your professional license—though this may be a very real possibility. But, even if you don’t lose your license, a DUI conviction could still have significant and long-term negative consequences for your career.

A DUI conviction will go on your permanent record—and it will stay there. In Wisconsin, DUI convictions are not eligible for expungement. As a result, if you get convicted, your conviction will stay with you for the rest of your life. It will show up on background checks when you apply for new positions or seek funding to start your practice; and, as a result, you may lose access to certain opportunities. If your current employer decides that your DUI reflects negatively on your abilities or the organization’s reputation, you could lose your current job as well.

How Should You Approach Your DUI as a Licensed Professional in Wisconsin?

With all of this in mind, how should you approach your DUI? To ensure that you are doing everything you can to protect yourself, you should discuss your situation with an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible. An experienced defense attorney will be able to explain the criminal and professional licensing implications of your arrest and will be able to help you make informed decisions while building your defense strategy.

When facing a DUI as a licensed professional, time is of the essence. Unnecessary delays (and other mistakes) can lead to unnecessary consequences. To discuss your situation with an experienced defense attorney in confidence, contact us today.

Schedule a Free DUI Defense Consultation at Mays Law Office in Madison, WI

If you are a licensed professional in Wisconsin and are currently facing a DUI charge, we encourage you to contact us promptly for more information. To schedule a free DUI defense consultation at Mays Law Office, please call 608-257-0440 or request an appointment online today.

Can You Get a DUI on a Snowmobile in Wisconsin?

Can You Get a DUI on a Snowmobile in Wisconsin?

The general public does not view recreational vehicles (snowmobiles, ATV’s and UTV’s, etc) as they would a regular car or automobile. And in turn, the general public doesn’t consider the consequences for recreational vehicle drunk driving offenses. However, under Wisconsin law, a snowmobile meets the definition of a “motor vehicle” (i..e., engine-driven vehicle) and thus the question of whether one can be cited for a drunk driving offense (i.e., OWI or DUI) when operating a snowmobile in Wisconsin – is answered “Yes.”
Wisconsin law treats driving or operating a snowmobile while under the influence of alcohol or drugs very similar to driving or operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. The legal – or illegal – blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for operating a snowmobile in Wisconsin is typically the same as for driving a car, which is 0.08%.

Who May Operate A Snowmobile In WI?

A driver’s license is not required to operate a snowmobile. However, there are restrictions based on age and birth year. No person under 12 may use a snowmobile unless accompanied by a parent or guardian or someone over 18. The statute defines “accompany” as being on the same snowmobile as the operator.

In addition, any snowmobile driver who is at least 12 years of age and born on or after January 1, 1985, may only operate a snowmobile if they hold a valid snowmobile safety certificate. If a snowmobile driver is required to have a safety certificate, they must carry proof of the certificate and display it upon request from law enforcement.

What Is The Legal Alcohol Limit On A Snowmobile?

Much like operating motor vehicles, it is illegal to:

  1. Operate a snowmobile under the influence of an intoxicant “to a degree which renders the person incapable of safe snowmobile operation.”
  2. Have an alcohol concentration of .08 or more when operating a snowmobile.
  3. If the person is not 19, they may not operate the snowmobile with an alcohol concentration of more than 0.0 but not more than 0.08.
  4. Have a detectable amount of a restricted controlled substance in their blood.

If Stopped On A Snowmobile, Do I Have To Provide A Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) Sample?

Wisconsin state law requires a person to provide a sample of their breath for a preliminary breath screening test if the officer has “probable cause to believe” the person is operating while intoxicated. The PBT is only for the purpose of confirming that the officer had probable cause to arrest. There is no penalty for refusing the preliminary breath test.

Where Can I Be Arrested For Drunk Snowmobiling In WI?

Snowmobile operators can be arrested for drunk driving on publicly or privately owned land regardless of whether a fee is charged for using that property.
On private land not designated as a snowmobile trail, it does not apply unless an accident involving injury occurs and the snowmobile was operated on the private land without the consent of the land owner.

Do I Have To Provide A Chemical Sample If Arrested For Drunk Snowmobiling?

According to Wis. Stat. §350.103, any person who operates a snowmobile on the public land highways of Wisconsin has already given (implied) consent to provide a sample of their breath, blood or urine.

Before requesting the sample, law enforcement must inform the person that:

  1. They are deemed to have consented to the tests under Wis. Stat. §350.103.
  2. A refusal to provide a sample is subject to the same penalties and procedures as a violation of operating while under the influence while snowmobiling.
  3. Besides the test requested by the officer, the driver may have an additional chemical test.

What about an unconscious person who is incapable of withdrawing consent for a chemical test. In such a situation, Wisconsin law presumes that the person did not withdraw consent (but only if law enforcement has probable cause to believe the person was operating while intoxicated.)

What Happens If I Refuse To Provide A Sample?

The refusal to provide a sample is subject to the same penalties and procedures as a violation of operating under the influence while snowmobiling.

What Are The Penalties For Snowmobiling While Intoxicated?

A first-time offender will be fined not less than $400 nor more than $550.

A second offense with a prior snowmobile OWI (or refusal conviction) within five years of the current offense will be fined no less than $300 or more than $1,000 and imprisoned for less than five days or more than six months.

A person who, within five years before their arrest for the current violation, was convicted two or more times of a snowmobile OWI or refusal violation will be fined not less than $600 nor more than $2,000 and shall be imprisoned not less than 30 days nor more than one year in the county jail.

Any person who fails to stop at the request of law enforcement or causes injury to another while operating a snowmobile while intoxicated will be fined not less than $300 nor more than $2,000 and may be imprisoned for not less than 30 days nor more than one year in the county jail.

In addition to the penalties listed above, a conviction will result in an order by the court to submit to, and comply with, an assessment of the person’s use of alcohol or controlled substances.

Consult With Counsel

If you’ve been arrested for drunk driving on a snowmobile in Wisconsin, don’t wait to contact a competent legal defense. The experienced drunk driving defense attorneys at Mays Law Office, LLC will fight for you and help you through the legal process.

Our firm has nearly 80 years and a proven track record of success in representing our clients in all sorts of drunk driving and other criminal and workers compensation cases. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

10 Reasons to Hire a Lawyer for Your Wisconsin DUI Case

10 Reasons to Hire a Lawyer for Your Wisconsin DUI Case

If you are facing a DUI charge in Wisconsin, you do not want to try to handle your case on your own. While this might seem like the best (or cheapest) option, trying to handle your case without a lawyer can end up being extremely costly. Successfully defending against a DUI charge is not easy, and getting convicted can have serious consequences. As a result, it is strongly in your best interests to seek experienced legal representation as soon as possible.

Why You Should Hire a DUI Lawyer in Wisconsin

Were you arrested for driving under the influence in Wisconsin? If so, here are 10 reasons why you should hire a lawyer to handle your DUI case:

Reason #1: You Are Facing Substantial Penalties

Regardless of whether this is your first offense or you are a repeat offender, a DUI conviction can lead to substantial penalties. For first-time offenders, potential penalties include up to a nine-month driver’s license suspension, hundreds of dollars in fines and surcharges, and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle (if your BAC was 0.15% or above). If you have a prior DUI within the past 10 years, you are facing even greater penalties—including jail time.

Reason #2: You Are Also Facing Serious Collateral Consequences

Along with these penalties, a DUI conviction can have several other serious consequences. For one thing, your auto insurance rates will skyrocket for the next several years. Having a DUI conviction on your record can also make it hard to land a job; and, if you have a professional license, are a member of the military, or are a foreign citizen, you could face consequences in these areas as well.

Reason #3: You May Need to Assert Multiple Defenses to Avoid a Conviction

To successfully fight your DUI charge, you may need to assert multiple defenses in court. Prosecutors may have several forms of evidence against you, and they will be able to secure a conviction by proving that either: (i) your BAC was over the legal limit, or (ii) your driving abilities were impaired. They do not need to prove both. As a result, if you challenge the prosecution’s evidence of impairment but not your BAC (or vice versa), you will still be at risk for a conviction.

Reason #4: Your Lawyer Can Seek to Negotiate a Plea Bargain if Warranted

In some cases, negotiating a plea bargain will be your best option. However, you should not pursue a plea bargain unless you are certain that there are not better options available. While a “wet reckless” carries substantially fewer consequences than a DUI, you should not subject yourself to any consequences unnecessarily.

Reason #5: Your Lawyer Can Help You Enter Into a Diversion Program (if Possible)

One way that you may be able to avoid consequences entirely is by entering into a diversion program. These programs “divert” your case from trial; and, if you complete all of the program’s requirements, your DUI case will be dismissed. An experienced DUI lawyer will be able to determine if your case qualifies for diversion; and, if so, your lawyer will be able to help you decide if entering into a diversion program is your best option.

Reason #6: You May Have Several Defenses Available (Even if You Were Drunk)

There are several ways to fight a DUI charge in Wisconsin. If you have grounds to fight your charge, you should not accept a plea or subject yourself to the requirements of a diversion program. Your lawyer will be able to evaluate your case and determine which defenses he or she can assert on your behalf. Based on this evaluation, you can then make an informed decision about how best to handle your case.

Reason #7: Prosecutors Win DUI Convictions All the Time

Despite the fact that there are several defenses to DUI charges in Wisconsin, prosecutors win DUI convictions all the time. Many prosecutors are extremely good at what they do; and, in many respects, the legal system is built in their favor. As a result, avoiding a conviction requires a knowledgeable and strategic approach—and this requires experienced legal representation.

Reason #8: Prosecutors May Not Be Able to Use Their Evidence Against You

Even if prosecutors have enough evidence to secure a conviction (as is often the case), they may not be able to use their evidence against you. For example, if the police stopped you without reasonable suspicion or arrested you without probable cause, this may render the prosecution’s evidence inadmissible. However, to keep the prosecution’s evidence out of court, you must be able to prove that the police violated your constitutional rights. Prosecutors aren’t going to withhold their evidence voluntarily, and it isn’t the judge’s responsibility to protect you.

Reason #9: A Wrongful Conviction or Unjust Sentence is a Very Real Possibility

Given these considerations, a wrongful conviction is a very real possibility. Additionally, even if a conviction is warranted, you could face a far greater sentence than necessary if you try to handle your case on your own. Simply put, hiring an experienced DUI lawyer is the best way to minimize the risks you are facing.

Reason #10: Hiring a Lawyer is Your Least Costly Option

While you will need to pay for your lawyer’s services, hiring a lawyer is ultimately likely to be your least costly option. If your lawyer helps you avoid fines, surcharges, or increased insurance premiums—and if your lawyer protects your driver’s license or keeps you out of jail—your legal representation will more than pay for itself.

Schedule a Free Initial Consultation with a WI DUI Lawyer Today

If you are facing a DUI charge in Wisconsin, we strongly encourage you to contact us for more information. We provide free initial consultations, and we can help you make smart decisions about your next steps. To discuss your case with an experienced WI DUI lawyer in confidence, please call 608-257-0440 or send us a message online today.

Fighting a DUI in Wisconsin in 2024: Key Lessons from the Past Year

Fighting a DUI in Wisconsin in 2024: Key Lessons from the Past Year

Drunk driving charges come with serious risks in Wisconsin. If you get convicted, you will be at risk for substantial penalties, and your conviction could negatively impact your life in a variety of other ways.

10 Free Resources for Individuals Facing a DUI in Wisconsin in 2024

To protect yourself, you need to make sure you are making smart decisions. There is a lot you need to know, and there are a lot of myths, misconceptions, and mistakes you need to avoid. We published several articles on fighting DUI charges in Wisconsin throughout 2023. Here are some of the key takeaways if you find yourself awaiting trial on a DUI charge in the New Year:

1. Understanding Wisconsin’s Drunk Driving Laws

The first thing to know is that there are two different types of DUI charges under Wisconsin law. You can be charged with either: (i) operating while intoxicated (OWI); or, (ii) operating with a prohibited alcohol concentration (PAC).

When you are facing an OWI charge, prosecutors must prove that your ability to drive was impaired—and they can do so without your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Conversely, in a PAC case, the only question is whether your BAC was over the legal limit. Learn more: OWI vs. PAC: What’s the Difference in Wisconsin.

2. Understanding Wisconsin’s Implied Consent Law

Along with Wisconsin’s OWI and PAC laws, it is also important for you to know about the state’s implied consent law. This law requires you to take the breathalyzer during your traffic stop if your arresting officer asks you to do so (though some exceptions apply).

Violating Wisconsin’s implied consent law can lead to an additional charge—and you can be penalized for an implied consent violation regardless of whether you were driving under the influence. But, there are defenses available, and your defense lawyer will be able to help you fight your “DUI refusal” charge if necessary. Learn more: What is Wisconsin’s Implied Consent Law.

3. Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Your DUI in Wisconsin

It might be tempting to ignore your DUI, especially during the holiday season. But, this is a mistake that you cannot afford to make. Prosecutors will not ignore your case; and, if you don’t show up in court, they will seek (and almost certainly win) a conviction in your absence.

In fact, rather than ignoring your DUI, you should make defending against it your top priority. While this might not be fun, it is important—and you will thank yourself later. To learn more about the importance of prioritizing your DUI defense, you can read: What Happens if You Ignore Your OWI or PAC in Wisconsin?

4. The “Dos” and “Don’ts” of Facing a DUI Charge

When you have an OWI or PAC charge pending, knowing that to do and knowing what not to do are equally important. To ensure that you are making smart decisions with your future in mind, you can read: “Dos” and “Don’ts” to Protect Yourself After a Drunk Driving Arrest in Wisconsin.

5. There Are Many Mistakes You Need to Avoid

While our “’Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’” article covers some of the mistakes you need to avoid when facing a DUI charge in Wisconsin, there are many more mistakes that can leave you facing unnecessary consequences. To learn more about what not to do while your DUI case is pending, you can read: 10 Mistakes to Avoid After a DUI Arrest in Wisconsin.

6. Know Your Rights!

You have clear legal rights as a defendant in Wisconsin’s criminal justice system. You also had clear legal rights during your traffic stop and arrest. If the police violated your rights, or if prosecutors violate your rights during your DUI case, this may provide you with a defense regardless of whether you were driving under the influence. Learn more: Asserting Your Constitutional Rights in a Wisconsin OWI/PAC Case.

7. What if You Admitted to Driving Drunk?

But, what if you admitted to driving drunk on the side of the road? Even in this scenario, you could still have defenses available. This includes (but is not limited to) defenses based on violations of your legal rights. To learn why you should always fight your DUI charge, you can read: Why You Shouldn’t Plead Guilty Even If You Admitted to Driving Drunk in Wisconsin.

8. “Defenses” that Could Lead to a DUI Conviction

While you have clear legal rights, and while there are many potential defenses to OWI and PAC charges, there are also “defenses” that don’t work. If you were to try to assert one of these “defenses” in court, you would very likely find yourself facing a conviction. Learn more: 10 “Defenses” that Won’t Protect You Against a DUI Conviction in Wisconsin.

9. Protecting Yourself if You Were Charged with DUI After an Accident

DUI charges are always serious. But, they can be even more serious if you are charged with causing an accident while driving under the influence. In this scenario, you can face enhanced penalties—and you can even be charged with a felony in some cases. To find out what you need to know about facing a DUI charge after an accident, you can read: What Happens if You Get in an Accident While Driving Drunk in Wisconsin?

10. What You Need to Know if You Refused the Breathalyzer

Finally, if you weren’t aware of Wisconsin’s implied consent law when you got pulled over, you may have refused the breathalyzer. As we mentioned above, this could mean that you are facing an additional charge for a “DUI refusal.” But, how will your refusal impact your DUI case?

As we also mentioned above, prosecutors can secure an OWI conviction without your BAC. So, even if you refused the breathalyzer, you still need to be prepared to fight your drunk driving charge. To learn more about how your refusal will impact your DUI case, you can read: Can You Be Convicted of DUI in Wisconsin if You Refused the Breathalyzer?

Schedule a Free DUI Defense Consultation in Madison, WI

Are you facing a DUI charge in Wisconsin? If so, we can help. To speak with an experienced defense lawyer at Mays Law Office in confidence, call 608-257-0440 or request a free consultation online today.

What Happens if You Ignore Your OWI or PAC in Wisconsin?

What Happens if You Ignore Your OWI or PAC in Wisconsin?

When you get arrested for drunk driving in Wisconsin, it can be tempting to ignore your situation. Dealing with your OWI or PAC ticket can be stressful, and the last way you want to spend your time is meeting with a lawyer and going to court.

But ignoring your OWI or PAC charge is a mistake—and many reasons exist.

It would be best if you did everything you possibly could to protect yourself when you are facing a drunk driving charge in Wisconsin. If you are a first-time offender, you face steep fines, a six to nine-month driver’s license suspension, and other consequences. If you are a repeat offender, the consequences at stake are even more significant—and may even include jail time. Having a conviction on your record will also negatively impact your life for years to come, and in Wisconsin, drunk driving charges are not eligible for expungement.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Your OWI or PAC in Wisconsin

If this isn’t enough, here are even more reasons not to ignore your Wisconsin OWI or PAC:

1. Your OWI or PAC Case Will Proceed Without You

Even if you ignore your OWI or PAC case, the court system will. Your case will proceed without you; you will almost certainly be convicted if you do nothing. At this point, the judge will have no choice but to consider the prosecution’s sentencing recommendation, which means that you will most likely face the harshest sentence possible based on the facts of your case.

Also, don’t forget that having an OWI or PAC conviction on your record means you will face even more significant penalties if you get convicted again. Next time, jail time could be on the table, and you could lose your driver’s license for a year or longer.

2. You Can Be Charged with Failure to Appear

If you ignore your OWI or PAC charge in Wisconsin, you can also be charged with failure to appear when your court date arrives. The judge can issue a bench warrant for your arrest based on your failure to appear. The judge can also impose additional penalties—and when you eventually make an appearance in court, the judge isn’t going to be sympathetic to your situation.

3. There Are Several Ways to Fight an OWI or PAC Charge in Wisconsin

One of the most important reasons not to ignore your case is that there are several ways to fight OWI and PAC charges in Wisconsin. This is true regardless of whether you were driving drunk at the time of your arrest. An experienced lawyer will be able to evaluate all potential defenses and develop a strategy focused on protecting you to the fullest extent possible. Depending on the circumstances, this could even mean helping you avoid a conviction entirely.

4. You May Be Able to Negotiate a Reduced Charge

If avoiding a conviction entirely isn’t realistic, your next best option may be to negotiate a reduced charge. Prosecutors will consider plea deals for OWI and PAC charges in appropriate cases. While you will face some consequences if you accept a plea deal, the consequences will be far less severe than those you would face after an OWI or PAC conviction.

Negotiating a favorable plea deal requires experienced legal representation. You need to know what type of deal to seek and be able to negotiate with the prosecutor’s office effectively. This means that you need an experienced lawyer on your side. A lawyer with experience handling OWI and PAC cases in Wisconsin will know how to approach the prosecutor’s office with an offer—and will be able to help ensure that seeking a plea deal is your best option.

5. You May Be Eligible to Have Your Case Diverted

Before you consider a plea deal, you should also consider the possibility of having your case diverted. Diversion is an option for many first-time OWI and PAC offenders. If your case is eligible for diversion—and you satisfy the conditions of diversion successfully—you can avoid a conviction regardless of the facts of your case.

For many first-time drunk driving offenders, diversion is the best way to approach their case. If they do what is necessary, they can avoid the life-altering consequences of an OWI or PAC conviction. An experienced lawyer will determine if you qualify; if so, your lawyer will be able to guide you through getting your OWI or PAC charge dismissed.

6. Hiring a Lawyer to Fight Your OWI or PAC Can Be Your Cheapest Option

Given the substantial costs of ignoring an OWI or PAC charge in Wisconsin, hiring an experienced lawyer can be your cheapest option. Whether your lawyer can help you seek diversion, negotiate a plea deal, or fight your charge in court, hiring a lawyer can save you substantial money in the long run.

7. You Owe it to Yourself and Your Family to Stand Up for Your Legal Rights

Finally, if you are facing the life-altering consequences of an OWI or PAC conviction, you owe it to yourself and your family to stand up for your legal rights. Regardless of the facts of your case, you do not deserve to face unnecessary and unjust punishment. From police miscues to prosecutorial misconduct, many issues can lead to an unfair conviction, and under no circumstances should you be willing to accept this as the outcome of your case.

Discuss Your Wisconsin OWI or PAC Case with a Lawyer for Free

Our lawyers rely on decades of experience to effectively represent individuals facing OWI and PAC charges in Wisconsin. To discuss your case for free with one of our experienced lawyers, call 608-257-0440 or tell us how we can reach you online today.

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