Location: Dodge County, Wisconsin
When the State WON’T Drop the Charges, We Minimize the Damage
There are many ways to beat an Operating While Intoxicated charge. The most sought after outcome is outright dismissal of the charges, but when the State will not agree to dismiss, they can sometimes be persuaded to amend the charge down. In February 2017, after ten months of fighting, Grieve Law’s OWI attorneys convinced the prosecutors in Dodge County to reduce an OWI charge to a much less serious traffic offense.
Drunk or just exhausted?
The case was straightforward enough. Our client was pulled over late at night. There was no bad driving, but the officer suspected she may be intoxicated. He noted some of the classic signs of intoxication—red bloodshot eyes and moderate odor of intoxicants. Our client told the officer she’d had two or three drinks hours ago at a friend’s house but had waited a long time before getting in her car. She had also put in time at both of her jobs that day and was very tired.
Squad footage showed she failed two of her three sobriety tests, but only barely. Sobriety tests may seem nebulous, but they are analyzed in a very precise manner. Officers look for “clues” of intoxication: there is a maximum possible number of clues on each sobriety test, and 2 or more clues on any sobriety test is considered failing. That being said, it is not difficult to distinguish between someone who fails a walk-and-turn test because she is drunk and someone who fails because she is tired. Our client was not stumbling over herself. She merely seemed exhausted. Her blood alcohol came back just within the margin of error. What now?
The State of Wisconsin wouldn’t budge.
The State was unwilling to amend the charge, even given her relatively good performance on the sobriety tests, lack of poor driving, and the blood test results. So we brought in a professional in blood alcohol analysis. He looked at all the evidence and wrote a report affirmatively stating it was very likely our client could have been under .08 at the time of driving, despite the State Hygiene Lab results showing her blood alcohol concentration was .084 at the time of her arrest.
Now we had the positive report from a qualified source to add to the good driving, good performance on sobriety tests, and low blood alcohol concentration. That sounds like reasonable doubt, doesn’t it? The State still wouldn’t budge. They offered a very low sentence recommendation, but would not amend the charge.
That wasn’t good enough for us.
So, we set the case for trial. The trial was adjourned once, then twice. We filed our witness list. We filed motions in limine (requesting certain evidence be excluded). We showed the State we were ready to go and we wouldn’t back down.
Finally, about week before the trial, the prosecutor called and offered a deal. He would amend the charge to a lower traffic offense and recommend no jail time. Though it came late—ten months late—this is what our client was looking for all along, and it made the ten months of hard negotiation and fighting worthwhile.
Don’t Settle for What the State Says—Get Your OWI Charges Reduced to a Lesser Offense
The OWI defense attorneys at Grieve Law keep fighting until you get the best possible outcome. In many cases, we get criminal charges dropped entirely. When that isn’t possible, we fight to get your charges—and penalties—reduced to the minimum.
If you’re facing charges, fines, jail time, or other penalties for drunk driving, get Milwaukee’s top criminal defense lawyers on your side to minimize the damage. We know you’re overwhelmed already—start with a simple, free consultation to discuss your case, your options, and your next steps.