Day: June 28, 2017

On June 23, Wisconsin attorneys who work on OWI cases were reminded by the State Bar of Wisconsin that, on July 1, a new Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles rule would go into effect. This rule states that a case that involved an administrative suspension would not be automatically dismissed if the arresting officer failed to make an appearance.

Typically, the attorney will subpoena the arresting officer, meaning the officer must appear in person. The attorney may then call in by phone. The rule will prevent the case from being dismissed if the subpoenaed officer does not appear if the attorney also does not appear. However, if the attorney does appear in court in person, the subpoenaed officer must also appear in person.

If a driver is accused of drunk driving by an officer, he or she must consent to a chemical test due to the state’s implied consent laws. If an officer finds a prohibited level of alcohol in a person’s blood, that person could face a six-month license suspension. The police are required to notify the driver of a potential suspension and must inform him or her that they have the right to have the suspension reviewed. This must be done by submitting a review request form within 10 days of receiving the notice.

Drunk driving cases can move very quickly, particularly when it comes to the administrative hearing. If an accused person does not act fast enough, he or she could lose driving privileges even if there is no subsequent conviction. A criminal defense attorney can fight a drivers’ license suspension before taking on the actual OWI charges.

Source: WIS Bar, “Intoxication Tests: Administrative Suspension Procedures Change July 1“, June 23, 2017

Many people who end up facing criminal charges in Wisconsin make the mistake of speaking to law enforcement without having an attorney present. This is usually a serious mistake that can sabotage their defense.

Some people try to talk their way out of an arrest. Especially if this is their first time dealing with police, they may believe that explaining properly can make the case go away. Unfortunately, this is usually not the case.

1. Miranda will not always protect you

Chances are, you have heard of the Miranda Warning. You know that police officers must give you an official warning and tell you, you have the right to an attorney. Not everyone realizes that this rule only applies in specific situations and not to all interactions with police.

Often, police officers may start questioning you before taking you into custody. Just because they are not yet putting the handcuffs on, does not mean they will not use your statements against you later. Nor does questioning have to consist of official interrogation. When you encounter police officers wanting to “just ask you some questions,” politely tell them you will not speak with them before consulting your attorney.

2. Officers may lie to you

The law, as stated by several Supreme Court cases, allows police officers to lie during questioning, with few limitations. This is true whether or not they have arrested you. For example, an officer may tell you your friend has testified against you or you were recorded committing the crime, just to get you to confess.

3. You may unintentionally provide evidence against yourself

Many people who get arrested do not know all the specific points of the law, so they may not know what information will help prosecutors later on. Choosing the wrong phrase, being sarcastic, exaggerating – all of these can damage your defense.

Less is more when it comes to speaking with police officers. While you should always be polite and cooperative, do insist on speaking with an attorney before making any statements. A qualified defense lawyer can assess your situation and advise you as to the best way to proceed for an effective defense.



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