Under Wisconsin’s Implied Consent Law, operating a motor vehicle in the state of Wisconsin means that you have consented to chemical tests of blood, breath, or urine as part of an OWI stop.
Refusing to submit to blood alcohol OWI field testing will result in an automatic license suspension or revocation anywhere from 1 to 3 years depending on whether it is a first time OWI field test refusal or a subsequent refusal within a 10 year period, and whether there are prior OWI related offenses.
If your drivers license is revoked or suspended, in some cases it is possible to apply for a hardship license also know as a restricted license allowing the applicant to drive for limited purposes such as getting to and from work or attending school – often with the requirement of installing ignition interlock devices on all vehicles.
An Ignition interlock device is basically a breathalyzer installed in an individual’s vehicle that requires the user to blow into a mouthpiece before the vehicle will start. If you are ordered to install ignition interlock device, typically you will have to pay for the installation and monthly monitoring fees – up to $150 to install and somewhere in the neighborhood of $75 a month for service. Law enforcement will of course be privy to any attempt to operate while intoxicated which may lead to further restrictions on driving privileges.
Deciding whether to take a breath test can be difficult. On one hand, a driver suspected of drunk or drugged driving may refuse hoping to limit evidence that can be used against them in court. However, refusing by itself can lead to penalties without ever being convicted of OWI and, of course, law enforcement may still move forward with OWI charges despite a refusal to undergo field sobriety BAC testing.
If you are facing charges for refusal to take a BAC test, it is important to contact an experienced OWI lawyer as soon as possible. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the stop, an outright dismissal may be possible in drunk driving cases where your rights were violated. Alternatively, it may also be possible to plea bargain down to a reckless driving charge, also known as a wet reckless, to avoid being charged with an Operating While Intoxicated 1st Offense or subsequent offense. Wet reckless translates into a more lenient penalty, potential insurance savings, and avoiding an OWI conviction on a criminal history report.
Contact Waukesha OWI defense lawyer Andrew C. Ladd for a free consultation at 262-542-3900.