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

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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.