Adams Law Group, llc

You were arrested for drunk driving. Now what?

In 2010, Wisconsin law enforcement made 35,577 arrests for OWI/drunk driving offenses. Like any task performed numerous times, OWI/drunk driving investigations vary in how well they are performed. If you were arrested for an OWI/drunk driving offense, and believe you were not intoxicated or that the police erred in their investigation, it is important to immediately consult with a knowledgeable defense attorney.

Even before selecting your attorney, there are steps you can take to aid your case.

The police have provided you with a form, usually printed on a colored sheet of paper, called an “Administrative Review Request.” The form allows you to challenge the automatic suspension of your driver’s license by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

By filing out and sending in this form – within 10 days of your arrest – you are informing the State that you are challenging the suspension of your license and asking for a hearing on the issue. You may elect to have the hearing in person, but it is more efficient to elect to have the hearing done via telephone. At the hearing, the investigating officer in your case will be required to provide evidence that you were driving while intoxicated. This hearing is not a trial and will have no negative effect on your OWI/drunk driving case. However, the hearing will allow you to probe and challenge the police’s investigation. This may uncover legal or factual issues that could result in a better outcome for your OWI/drunk driving case.
It is critical that you fill out the Administrative Review Request and submit it within 10 days of your arrest, even if you haven’t yet selected an attorney to represent you.

You may also obtain all of the police reports created during your OWI/drunk driving investigation. Usually, within a week of your arrest these reports will be available for you at the police agency that performed the investigation. The police will charge you a fee for printing these reports. Calling the agency ahead of time is always a good idea. Immediate access to these reports will help your attorney to give you quicker and more substantive advice as to your case.

Finally, although it may be strange to think of it this way, an OWI/drunk driving arrest can be a blessing in disguise. Alcohol is a prevalent aspect of Wisconsin culture. As a result, often problems with alcohol are ignored or left unrecognized until after a dramatic event like an arrest. Even if you want to challenge the State’s case against you, you must take a moment to evaluate alcohol’s place in your life – whether it is becoming a problem and whether you may need help in dealing with it.

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