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.