4 Mistakes You Should Avoid After an OWI/DUI

glass of beer drank right before being picked up for an OWIOperating a vehicle while intoxicated. Driving under the influence.  Just hearing these terms can make you break out in a sweat, and for good reason.  The penalties for an OWI or DUI can be serious and long-term.  Unfortunately, the consequences can become much more serious if you make these errors after your OWI/DUI arrest.

You refuse a breath or blood test.

Your driver’s license comes with your “implied consent” to take a breath or blood test.  Failure to agree to a breath, blood, or any other test can result in penalties worth than your OWI/DUI.  These kind of cases are also often harder to contest than the OWI/DUI.

You haven’t requested an administrative hearing.

If your breath or blood test shows a .08 BAC or higher, you have 10 days to request a hearing.  An administrative hearing is your chance to forgo a pre-conviction suspension.  It can also impact the future of your case.  If you have any concerns about the hearing or the future of your case, contact a local attorney for additional information and advice (here are tips for your initial meeting here).

You’re not worried about your job.

Truck drivers, delivery drivers, taxi cab drivers, or anyone with driving responsibilities on the job, beware: an OWI/DUI conviction can have serious implications on the ability to do your work and the possible loss of your occupational license.  It could even result in the loss of your job.  Even if it’s just a first OWI/DUI conviction, the first offense can stay on your record for the duration.

You haven’t contacted an attorney.

If you are accused of operating a vehicle with a BAC above .08, you can plead guilty and accept the penalties (don’t hesitate to ask if you don’t know) or you can consult a lawyer to find out if plea bargaining or sentence bargaining is a possibility. Every situation is different; it’s your decision whether to consult a lawyer to work on your behalf.  There are certain situations, however, where it’s clear that contacting a lawyer is in your best interest:

  • You have previous OWI’s/DUI’s. The penalties get more severe with consecutive offenses.  A second offense or an offense that involves parties under 18 may come with the possibility of jail time or an investment in expensive equipment (i.e. ignition interlock, etc.).
  • Your blood alcohol content was .15 or higher. With a higher BAC comes stricter penalties, even if this is your first OWI/DUI arrest.
  • There was an injury or death connected to your OWI/DUI. Depending on your driving history, seriousness of the injuries, and facts of the accident, you could face mandatory jail time and up to $10,000 in fines (as well as other costs stemming from the offense).

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney.

4 Reasons You Should Contact a Lawyer for your OWI

glass of beer drank right before being picked up for an OWIDrinking and driving may seem trivial, but the consequences can be serious—and not always readily apparent at the time.  A few beers, a failed field sobriety test, or a high test can lead to jail time, loss of driving privileges, significant financial losses, and increased insurance premiums, just to name a few.

In 2003, Wisconsin lowered the blood alcohol content level for all drivers to .08.  If you are one of those drivers accused of operating a vehicle with a BAC above that level, you can plead guilty and accept the penalties (if you are clear what those are-don’t be hesitant to ask) or you can consult a lawyer to find out what other options are available to you, such as plea bargaining or sentence bargaining.  Every situation is different (both facts and financially), so it’s up to you to decide whether to consult a lawyer to work on your behalf.  There are certain situations, however, where it’s clear that hiring a lawyer is in your best interest.

You have previous offenses on your record.

If this is not your first serious driving offense, or you have a previous DUI, OWI, or DWI on your record, the stakes are higher this time around.  Second offenses, or offenses that involve minors, can carry possible jail time.  In addition, your second or consecutive offenses can mean a significant financial investment in other equipment required by your local enforcement agency (i.e. devices in your vehicles, home, etc.) Contacting a lawyer can give you exact information about penalties and any possible options that may be available to your specific situation.

Your BAC was twice the legal limit.

If your BAC was .15 or higher, the penalties for your offense are likely to be stricter (even if your first offense).  In this situation, a lawyer may be able to assist you in sentence negotiations that could lessen your costs, time served, and any other penalties—depending on your situation.  The good news is that finding out the specific penalties and options may be free if the lawyer you contact offers a free consultation.  Here’s how to make the most of your time with your lawyer so you don’t waste your—or your lawyer’s—time.

Someone was injured or killed as a result of your DUI.

If someone in your vehicle or the other vehicle was injured or killed, the proverbial legal ballgame has changed.  Depending on your driving history, seriousness of the injuries, and facts of the accident, you could face mandatory jail time and up to $10,000 in fines (as well as other costs stemming from the offense). Contacting a lawyer is a good idea in this case, both because of the seriousness of the penalties and the potential options that your lawyer may be aware of.

You have a job that requires a clean driving record.

If your livelihood is on the line, your penalties could have life-altering implications especially if your job involves significant driving.  In this case, it makes “cents” to contact a lawyer to find out your options so you can increase your chances of possibly keeping your license and livelihood.

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney.