If you are facing an OWI charge in Wisconsin, especially if it is your first time, the overall experience can be frightening, stressful, and confusing. A conviction can result in a jail sentence, fines, license suspension, and a criminal record that can affect the rest of your life. Unfortunately, there are several mistakes that people commonly make during a pending OWI case, which can mean the difference between getting convicted and having your normal life back.
The most common OWI mistakes include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Fail to understand the gravity of your charges – When some people encounter trouble in life, they often ignore their problems in hopes they will disappear. Well, that won’t work with an OWI charge. Not only will you have to serve time behind bars, pay expensive fines and lose your driving privileges, having a criminal record can make it difficult to gain employment, apply to college, or take advantage of many of life’s opportunities.
- Plead guilty or no contest at the arraignment – Many people assume that an arrest means that they’re automatically guilty. Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If you plead guilty or no contest at your initial court hearing, you lose the opportunity to fight the charges to get your case dismissed or obtain a reduced sentence. Furthermore, you may have to serve the maximum penalties available.
- Not fight the DMV license suspension – In Wisconsin, a DMV hearing must be sought within 10 calendar days of the arrest or else you will lose your driving privileges. This is not to be confused with the license suspension you could receive when you are convicted. Not having the ability to drive can make it difficult to commute to work, go to classes, make important appointments, and conduct daily activities.
- Drive on a suspended driver’s license – Unfortunately, many people choose to get behind the wheel despite the license suspension. If you are caught driving on a suspended driver’s license, you could face increased penalties, such as additional fines and more jail time.
- Not hire a criminal defense lawyer – If you want to avoid all of the mistakes mentioned above, an experienced OWI lawyer can make sure you do whatever it takes to avoid conviction. He/she can investigate your case, collect evidence, negotiate with the prosecution, and build a strong defense strategy to either get your case dismissed altogether or your charges significantly reduced. However, many people attempt to represent themselves, which can prove costly because they lack the knowledge of the criminal justice system to protect your rights and future.
At the Law Offices of Christopher J. Cherella, our Milwaukee criminal defense attorney knows what it takes to help you get your life back on the right track. We can guide you through the intricacies of the criminal justice system and ensure that you avoid making the most common mistakes people make in your position.
If you are interested in experienced legal representation, contact us and request a free consultation today.