Let's talk about OWI and DUI Offenses
One of our strongest criminal defense specialties here at Richards & Dimmer, S.C. is our OWI/DUI defense. We don’t just say that. Over the last handful of years, we have numerous OWI jury trials—trials where the jury came back and said “not guilty.” We also have many cases where we filed motions to suppress the blood or breath sample provided by our client based upon flaws in the law enforcement officers’ investigation. Here are some of the cases where we have challenged the investigation:
- A case where the officers threatened to obtain a search warrant when they had no probable cause that our client was impaired. Result: evidence suppressed.
- A case where the officer relied upon a third-party caller to stop the driver, despite having no independent observations of bad driving and no personal knowledge that the client was impaired. Result: evidence suppressed.
- A case where the officer unlawfully entered the dwelling of a client to interview him about a vehicle collision. Result: evidence suppressed.
- A case where the officer unlawfully seized our client in his driveway without knowing who he was. Result: evidence suppressed.
- A case where the officer forced a blood draw from the client when the officer was unable to obtain a search warrant. Result: evidence suppressed.
Even before we get to jury trials or motion hearings, Richards & Dimmer, S.C. have the experience in OWI/DUI defense to help minimize the consequences of an OWI/DUI. Here’s how:
1. Keep you license privileges while the case is pending. You have 10 days to request an administrative suspension hearing, which the Department of Transportation holds to determine whether to suspend your license. This happens BEFORE you are convicted of an OWI. If your license is suspended, then you must contact your insurance company for SR-22 proof of insurance. This can cost you more in coverage premiums. To avoid or delay getting your insurance company involved, and the likely higher premiums that go with it, contact us to help keep your license.
2. Minimize or avoid the penalties that come with an OWI. Even if the OWI is your first offense, you will face mandatory license revocation. This can range from 6-9 months, or 12 months if you refused to take a breath or blood test. An attorney can help argue for the least amount of revocation time. A first OWI also carries a fine and court costs that total nearly a $1,000. You also have 6 demerit points assessed against your drivers license.
If this is your second OWI offense or more, or your blood or breath test results are above .15, then you will be subjected to an Ignition Interlock Device (IID), for at least 12 months. IID's are very expensive, and cost drivers around $1,000 a year in maintenance, installment, and calibration. Here’s a link about IID devices: http://wisconsindot.gov/Documents/about-wisdot/who-we-are/dsp/iid-faq.pdf
An attorney can work to get out from under this requirement, whether through negotiation or a jury trial.
3. Prior OWI/DUI offenses matter. A unique feature of OWI’s is that your punishment automatically increases with each additional offense. If this is your second OWI offense or more, or you had a child under 16 years in your vehicle at the time of driving, then you will be subjected to mandatory jail time (for a fourth offense, you could be facing prison time). Because of our courtside business location, and exclusive criminal defense practice in Racine County, we have built strong relationships with the persons involved in crafting the terms of any mandatory jail—the where, when, and how. Have a job? We can help you keep it by arguing for Huber privileges during your jail sentence. Some clients even receive electronic monitoring Have a job outside of Racine County? We can argue that you be able to serve your sentence in your county of residence or employment.
If this is your fourth offense or greater, then we need to work to make sure you do not go to prison. Fourth offenses are now felony offenses in Wisconsin. But not all persons who are convicted of fourth offenses get prison time. Whether a client receives prison or probation depends on a range of factors—the blood test level, the time between priors, any treatment, and substantial sentencing hearing preparation.
A word about collateral attacks. We have experience and success in challenging a prior offense—particularly those that occurred out-of-state. If you did not have an attorney represent you on a prior conviction, then you need to bring that up to the attorneys here at Richards & Dimmer, S.C.
4. We work to dismiss those other costly tickets, too. OWI cases usually involve other traffic violations, with expensive tickets. We can help reduce or eliminate those other tickets, saving you driving demerit points, costly fines, and potential suspensions. If you accrue more than 12 demerit points in a single year of time, then you could face an additional suspension. Two suspensions in a single year could result in a year of total license revocation—without the possibility of an occupational drivers license. Accordingly, those other tickets matter, and you need an attorney familiar with working to dismiss them.
5. OWI/DUI defense requires scientific and technical training and knowledge. Clients are often surprised how technical and scientific OWI defense work is. Just because the final blood or brteath sample is above .08, we can still challenge how that sample was obtained or whether it accurately measures your level of intoxication at the time of driving. Believe it or not, the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene is the last place you would want to send a blood sample for accurate testing.
To train and prepare to effectively and aggressively represent our OWI/DUI clients in this scientific area of practice, we annually attend a multi-day conference where the best OWI attorneys in Wisconsin come together to discuss successful scientific challenges to blood and breath testing, along with a multitude of other issues unique to OWI cases. We are members of the National College for DUI Defense for the same reason—we connect with other bright OWI attorneys to learn the most about challenging a client’s alcohol test result.