An OWI, operating while impaired, is a term used in Wisconsin for drinking and driving arrests. While a more defined term than DUI or DWI, it has the same purpose of handling drinking and driving cases. If you drink and drive, Wisconsin law will penalize you.
But we all make mistakes. The best defense you have is simply calling a cab or asking for a designated driver. If you do make a mistake, the penalties can be severe. This makes it very important to prepare an effective OWI defense. This is similar to defending DUI, but Wisconsin, as with most states, has somewhat different penalties.
What kind of penalties can you expect after being caught drinking and driving? Even with the first offense, there are fines, revocation of license, and in some cases jail time. If you get multiple OWI offenses, you can expect fines to double, likely extended jail time, and a longer license suspension. If you hurt someone while driving, you may face felony charges.
How do you defend an OWI in Wisconsin? Here are some tips.
Handle the Officer Correctly
Some OWI offenders make more mistakes beyond drinking and driving. There is no reason to in any way offend the officer. Of course, violence against any officer is bad, but if you hurt someone, it could ruin your life. Be honest, be careful, and don’t say too much. You have rights too, and if the officer infringes upon them, if he or she does not read you a Miranda, you can use this to defend the OWI.
Hire an OWI Lawyer
This is the best tip and most important: hire an experienced Wisconsin OWI lawyer. There are many options, but don’t hire the first you one you find. Query several and ask for consultations and rates.
How can a lawyer help? If you face felony charges, you may go to prison for years instead of months. If this is your first drinking and driving charge, you may be totally unaware of your rights. No matter your situation, a Wisconsin OWI lawyer can plan a strategy for defense.
Ask as many questions as possible. This includes to the officer, to the judge, and especially to your lawyer. You are involved in a very big process and you have the right to know what the charges are, what the penalties for these charges are, and how you can fight them.
Know Your Rights
As mentioned, if an officer never reads you your Miranda warning, that’s a mistake. You can plead this in court, and sometimes win a lesser penalty if not throwing the case out. If the officer mistreated you, discuss your options with a lawyer. Officers make mistakes too; bad news for them, good news for you.
Plan a Strategy
Planning an OWI defense can be difficult, but with an experienced attorney’s help, your trial can be quick and easy. While the lawyer knows how to defend you, consider the above tips, and give your opinion. You might question the validity of the breathalyzer, if the officer had no reason to pull you over, or if they searched your car without reason.
These are some of the best ways to defend an OWI, but no two cases are exactly alike. Consider hiring professional counsel immediately.