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Wisconsin - Administrative License Suspension

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]The state capitol of Madison, Wisconsin[/caption]

What is an Administrative License Suspension?

  The state of Wisconsin views driving as a privilege and not a right. With this in mind, they have implemented not only criminal penalties for OWI or operating while intoxicated but also administrative penalties which are imposed by the Wisconsin’s Department of Transportation. Under Wisconsin’s implied consent laws, drivers have given their implied consent to submit to a blood alcohol content test (BAC) if they have been arrested for drunk driving and a Wisconsin law enforcement officer requests that they take the BAC test.

Penalties for the failing or refusing the blood alcohol content test

  As mentioned above, if you are convicted of OWI in Wisconsin you will face criminal charges, but if you refuse to take a blood alcohol test or if you take the test and your blood alcohol concentration is above the legal limit of 0.08% you will face administrative penalties. These penalties will be enforced regardless of whether or not you are ever convicted of drunk driving.

Administrative penalties for OWI in Wisconsin

  Administrative penalties for drivers who fail the blood alcohol content test include a six month suspension of their driver’s license. Drivers who refuse the blood alcohol content test will have their license suspended for one year. After the failure or refusal the law enforcement officer will confiscate the driver’s license and issue them a temporary 30 day license. Drivers have a right to appeal the license suspension by requesting a hearing with the Department of Transportation. To make the request you will have to complete a form and send it to the Department of Transportation within 10 days from the date on the Notice of Intent to Suspend. This hearing must be requested within a specified number of days or the driver’s license will automatically be suspended. Drivers may want to contact a drunk driving lawyer to assist, not only with this administrative hearing, but also with their drunk driving trial.

Can I get an Occupational License after my Administrative License Suspension?

  Most Wisconsin drivers who do not have any previous OWI offenses may request an occupational license so they can drive to work, school, medical appointments and alcohol education classes while their license is suspended. Drivers who have failed the blood alcohol test may request the occupational license immediately after the suspension starts. Drivers who refuse the test, however, will have to wait 30 days to request the occupational license. A payment plus proof of insurance must be sent to the Wisconsin’s Department of Transportation. Drivers will also have to pay a reinstatement fee to have their license reinstated after the administrative suspension.

What happens at a Wisconsin Administration Hearing of OWI?

  If you have hired a drunk driving lawyer they can appear at your administrative hearing on your behalf. If you have not hired a drunk driving lawyer you must attend the hearing and defend yourself. The hearing will review the issues which are listed on the letter they sent to you.

Hiring a drunk driving lawyer for a Wisconsin OWI

  As mentioned above, many drivers hire a drunk driving lawyer prior to their administrative hearing. Although the administrative hearing is completely separate from the drunk driving criminal process, the administrative hearing can help a drunk driving lawyer understand the evidence that the state has to prove their OWI case against the Wisconsin driver.
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