In the event of an OWI arrest in Wisconsin, police will ask you to submit to a breath or blood test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC) and the amount of drugs you have in your system. Although you have the power to refuse to take a post-arrest chemical test, refusal can result in penalties based on the state’s “implied consent” law.
According to this law, when individuals receive their driver’s license and operate a vehicle on Wisconsin roadways, they automatically consent to take a chemical test upon the request of a police officer. If a driver refuses to take a chemical test, it is punishable by driver’s license revocation.
The first-time refusal is punishable by license revocation of one year. Second-time refusal results in license revocation for two years. Third-time refusal is punishable by license revocation for three years.
Those who refuse to take a chemical test can request a court hearing within 10 days of the date of the OWI arrest to fight the revocation. Additionally, these individuals are eligible for a hardship license, which allows them to drive only for work, education, and treatment purposes and requires the use of an ignition interlock device (IID). But prior to obtaining a hardship license, individuals need to complete 30 days of the suspension for a first refusal, 90 days for a second refusal, and 120 days for a third refusal.
Keep in mind, there are two types of breath tests that law enforcement uses in OWI investigations: a roadside test and an evidentiary breath test. The former is administered to establish probable cause for an OWI arrest during a traffic stop, while the latter is administered upon arrest and at the police station.
Wisconsin’s implied consent law applies to the refusal of the evidentiary breath test. On the other hand, drivers are allowed to refuse a roadside test without punishment.
If you have been arrested for drunk driving in the state, it is necessary for law enforcement to inform you of the implied consent law and the penalties for refusal. If a police officer doesn’t provide this warning, you could challenge the revocation of your driving privileges and fight your OWI charges with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
At the Law Offices of Christopher J. Cherella, we are committed to helping you get your OWI case dismissed or your penalties reduced. Our Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer can review your case, collect evidence, determine if any errors were made by law enforcement or the prosecution, and develop an effective defense strategy on your behalf. Just because you have been arrested, doesn’t mean that you are guilty.
For more information about OWI defense, contact us and schedule a free consultation today.