OWI 2nd offense
Another charge. Another real RESULT.
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Recently, I had a client facing an OWI 2nd charge in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. The case was in circuit court because an OWI 2nd in Wisconsin is a criminal charge, whereupon if convicted you face up to 6 months in jail along with license revocation, fine, AODA, and ignition interlock requirements. Serious penalties, for sure. Remember, though:
You Are Only Guilty if Proven Guilty
My client had been stopped at a stop sign, and when it was his turn to go he pulled forward into the intersection. Before he cleared the intersection, another vehicle attempted to go through the intersection and hit my client’s vehicle. An investigating officer suspected he was intoxicated and performed a field sobriety test. Subsequently, my client was arrested and submitted to a chemical test, which showed he was above the legal limit. The State’s offer in the case included jail time, as is required by law, and after discussing the case with my client we decided it was in his best interest to file a motion on the case.
The motion challenged whether the officer had probable cause to arrest my client. Without the arrest, the State would not be able to use the chemical result against my client. The basis of the motion was that my client performed well on his field sobriety tests, the officer did not know how to accurately perform the tests, and there were inaccuracies within the officer’s police report.
Upon cross-examining the officer, I was able to get him to admit that his police report was inaccurate as to indications of intoxication. Specifically, the officer indicated in the report that my client exhibited certain signs, but upon watching the video in court we were able to see those signs did not exist. I was also able to demonstrate that the officer was unaware of how to perform one of the field sobriety tests. The sobriety tests exist nationwide in a standardized form to ensure that the results indicate intoxication as studies have demonstrated they will. However, if the test is not done as required, there is no telling what the results will indicate. When cross examined, the officer indicated he did not do the tests correctly. Furthermore, he admitted that if the test is done incorrectly even a person who is sober can fail the test.
What to do when an officer lies in Milwaukee. Learn more about Wisconsin's OWI laws.
Ultimately the Judge ruled in our favor and suppressed the evidence gathered after my client was arrested, so the State did not have a chemical test result above the legal limit. Without this evidence, the State eventually dismissed the case against my client.