DUI/OWI Defense Lawyer in Milwaukee
The Milwaukee DUI/OWI lawyers of Hart Powell, S.C. have years of experience representing clients facing criminal DUI/OWI charges. A DUI/OWI conviction can have a negative impact on your life, resulting in possible jail time, large fines, higher insurance rates, and suspension of your driver’s license.
Wisconsin laws state that a person is over their legal limit when their blood alcohol content reaches .08 or above. Driving under the influence may also dramatically affect your reputation, family, and career options. If you have been arrested or charged with a DUI/OWI, contact an experienced attorney immediately.
Why Choose Hart Powell, S.C.?
A DUI/OWI charge can interfere with your responsibility to support your family. At the minimum, you could lose your driver’s license, which could make commuting to work an impossibility, essentially robbing you of your ability to make a living wage. Moreover, a DUI/OWI conviction is a stain on your record that could affect future opportunities. Because the stakes are so high, you can’t rely on anything but the highest-quality representation if you have been arrested for a DUI or OWI.
Don’t accept the help of a public defender. Even if you get a skilled lawyer, public defender’s caseloads are typically so enormous that they will not be able to give your case the attention it deserves. At Hart Powell, S.C., we have a combined 50 years of experience defending clients in the Milwaukee area. Our DUI/OWI attorneys will do the legal legwork for you. We will thoroughly analyze every detail of your case and use the findings to your advantage in court. Facing a DUI/OWI charge can be an embarrassing and stressful experience, but it is important to remember you still have rights. Our firm understands that your reputation, family, and finances are on the line. How you handle your DUI/OWI charges will affect the rest of your life, so do not leave it in the hands of amateurs.
The Milwaukee criminal defense attorneys of Hart Powell, S.C. represent clients who face a wide array of DUI/OWI-related charges, including:
- Driving under the influence
- Transportation of open alcohol
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Driving using a suspended or revoked license
When facing a criminal charge, it is important to speak with an attorney before you make any statements to law enforcement officials. Speaking without the guidance of an attorney will only help the prosecution to build a case against you. Anything that you say can be used against you in a court of law, so it is imperative to contact an attorney immediately after your DUI/OWI charge occurs. Speak to a qualified legal advocate today! Set up a free consultation on our website or contact our office at (414) 271-9595.
What Qualifies as Drunk Driving in Wisconsin?
Have you been arrested for a DUI or OWI in the Milwaukee area? At Hart Powell, S.C., our DUI/OWI defense attorneys have the experience and skills necessary to aggressively fight the charges. We understand that a DUI/OWI conviction can affect your finances, reputation, and career options. Before you fight these charges, it is important to educate yourself on Wisconsin’s DUI/OWI laws. Here are four ways that the state defines intoxication:
- Driving with a BAC of 0.08 or greater
- Driving while under the influence of an intoxicant, such as alcohol, legal prescription medication, illegal or controlled substances, or other chemical substances
- Operating a vehicle with a detectable amount of any restricted substance in the bloodstream
- Driving while under the influence of a controlled substance or any other drug
At Hart Powell, S.C., we understand how the courts use the law to cast a wide net. While the last three definitions sound similar, lawmakers wrote the law to cover a variety of intoxicating substances; whether the substance in the bloodstream is a valid prescription medication or an illegal drug, you could go to jail. Consult with a qualified DUI/OWI defense attorney from Hart Powell, S.C. who can review the details of your case and help you make the correct next move forward.
With a combined 50 years of experience, the attorneys at Hart Powell, S.C. have provided clients in the Milwaukee area with a lot of personalized legal counsel. We place a high priority on protecting our clients’ rights and interests, especially when faced with severe consequences. Here are some of the penalties for a first time DUI/OWI offense:
- Between a $150-$300 fine
- A $435 surcharge
- License suspension for three to six months
- Regular drug and alcohol assessments
- Ignition interlock device depending on the BAC level at the time of the arrest
The drug and alcohol assessment is an examination of the driver’s drinking and drug habits to determine if a pattern of addiction exists. The assessment is performed by a trained counselor, and depending on the results, it could result in further educational or counseling programs.
Lawmakers have designed first-time DUI/OWI convictions to lean toward educational programs and altering bad driving habits. However, additional DUI/OWI convictions do not carry such lenient penalties. Fines, license suspensions, and jail time all increase with each later conviction that the offender receives. For this reason, you should seek a DUI/OWI defense attorney who will help you to fight against these harsh punishments.
Defenses for a DUI/OWI Conviction
The DUI/OWI defense attorneys at Hart Powell, S.C. will work hard to build a convincing case on your behalf. With our help, you may be able to have the charges against you reduced or even dropped altogether.
Based on our experience, we have seen many DUI/OWI charges lack sufficient evidence for an arrest. For instance, we can make the case that the police officer’s observation of slurred speech or bloodshot eyes could have an alternative explanation, such as sleep deprivation or allergies. Our expert DUI/OWI attorneys will remind the court that these observations do not form enough evidence to call for an arrest. In addition, we can also argue to the officer did not have probable cause to pull you over in the first place.
Courts tend to believe that breathalyzer results are accurate, and the prosecution will rely on those results to build their case against you. We can use this to our advantage. At Hart Powell, S.C., our DUI/OWI defense attorneys will dispute this type of evidence because breathalyzers are often inaccurate devices in recording BAC levels. Some common problems related to breathalyzer tests include the following:
- The device was inadequately calibrated
- The arresting officer did not properly administer the test
- Other chemicals were present that skewed the results of the test
- The machine was damaged prior to the test
When crafting a DUI/OWI defense with our team, it is also important that you remember if there was a gap between the time you were pulled over and when the arresting officer administered the breathalyzer test. Because alcohol takes time to enter your bloodstream through the digestive tract, your BAC level may have been at the legal limit at the time you were pulled over. But 20 or 30 minutes later, when you perform the test, you were above the legal BAC level. If this is the case, your BAC level would not be proof of drunk driving.
A DUI/OWI conviction can have detrimental effects on your personal and professional reputation, not to mention your personal life and standing in the community. If you believe, for any reason, that the results of your breathalyzer test were inaccurate, contact Hart Powell, S.C. at once. Our seasoned DUI/OWI defense attorneys will be able to dispute the breathalyzer results while counseling you on the best way to move forward with your case. With the right representation, you may be able to get the charges dropped altogether.
What to Do if You Are Pulled Over for a DUI
If you happen to be pulled over for a DUI or OWI in Milwaukee, your actions are extremely important and can significantly affect the case for or against you. Follow these steps if you are ever pulled over for a DUI:
- Pull Over In A Safe Place: Once you see flashing lights in your rearview mirror, turn on your blinker to acknowledge that you see the officer. Continue driving until there is a safe location to pull over, taking into consideration that the police officer will need enough space to stand next to your car without being endangered by moving traffic. For example, if you are on an interstate and the shoulder is narrow, wait to take the next exit before you pull over in a safe space.
- Place Your Hands On Top Of the Steering Wheel: As you wait for the officer to approach your vehicle, rest your hands in plain sight on top of the wheel. This is a best practice for any pullover, including a DUI. This makes a visible signal to the officer that you do not present an immediate threat, and will help to begin your interaction without apprehension on the part of the police officer.
- Tell the Officer What You Are Doing: Inevitably, the officer will ask for your license, insurance, and registration. If you need to reach into your wallet or glove compartment, inform the officer of what you will be doing and why. This may seem elementary, but this is for your protection as well as for the peace of mind of the officer. Do not leave anything to chance or misinterpretation.
- Be Polite: A DUI pullover is the time to exercise your manners. “Yes ma’am,” or, “yes sir,” can go a long way. While this may not be an instant exoneration for a DUI stop, the way that you treat the officer will absolutely be taken into account. Your demeanor can potentially be the difference between an arrest or being allowed to proceed.
- Tell the Truth Without Offering Extra Information: Be truthful, but only answer the questions you are asked. If you offer additional information without being asked those questions directly, you may incriminate yourself. Keep quiet, keep polite, and keep your answers short.
- Decline Field Sobriety Tests: Many people are unaware that you are not required to complete field sobriety tests. These tests are often referred to as roadside gymnastics because even sober individuals can be tripped up by the exercises or questions required. Make sure to be polite with your refusal.
- Decline a Handheld Breathalyzer: You may have heard that the implied consent laws in the state of Wisconsin require that you comply with DUI blood alcohol testing, including the use of breathalyzers. While this is true, it only applies to chemical testing at the police station, not to hand-held breathalyzers. A hand-held breathalyzer test carried by an officer can be inaccurate. You will be re-tested when you arrive at the station anyway, so it is best to wait for the real deal.
- Know Your Rights: We’ve all heard the term Miranda Rights, and you probably know that it generally means that you have the right to remain silent, or what you say can be used against you in court. However, make sure that you fully understand your rights. Your Miranda rights are only useful if you exercise them, which means stating that you do not want to speak to anyone unless you have an attorney present. Then, you must remain silent on the topic of your arrest, even if you are asked questions. Continue to state that you do not want to speak to anyone unless you have an attorney present.
- Once You are Released, Record What You Remember: Often, DUI offenders will be released first thing in the morning before an attorney arrives. This is fine, just be sure to record everything you can remember about your arrest while it is freshest in your mind. This will help your attorney best represent you and your case.
- Contact an Attorney as Soon as Possible: If you’re able to call an attorney from the police station, definitely do so. Otherwise, contact an attorney as quickly as possible upon your release. You have a limited amount of time to take action on a DUI or OWI case, so do not procrastinate.
Hart Powell, S.C. is available to get started on your case right away so that you have the best chance to limit your punishment and maybe even have charges dismissed altogether.
The DUI/OWI attorneys of Hart Powell, S.C. understand the legal issues surrounding your case and will carefully review all of the evidence in order to build a strategic defense on your behalf. Our attorneys will investigate and challenge any unclear information regarding your case. In some cases, improper maintenance of breathalyzer machines can lead to inaccurate blood alcohol level readings. Challenging this kind of law enforcement error is vital to a successful defense. A skilled attorney will be able to point out any weaknesses in the prosecution’s claims and take strategically aggressive actions to defend your rights.
Facing a DUI/OWI charge is an embarrassing and stressful experience, but it is important to remember that you still have legal rights. The decisions that you make regarding your DUI/OWI case will affect the rest of your life, so it is in your best interest to hire the best criminal defense lawyer possible. The Milwaukee DUI/OWI lawyers of Hart Powell, S.C. are dedicated to fighting for your rights and will work to ensure that you receive a fair trial. To learn more about our exceptional legal services, contact the Milwaukee DUI/OWI lawyers today by calling (414) 271-9595.