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Changes to administrative license suspension procedures

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 appea. 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

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