Administrative Hearings for Wisconsin OWIs: What You Need to Know
Arrested for Drunk Driving in the Milwaukee Area
Everyone makes mistakes. Maybe you had a late night out, made the poor decision to drive yourself home, and found yourself facing an OWI 1st offense. Or maybe you’ve made the mistake more than once and got a Wisconsin 3rd OWI. Whatever your circumstances, it is important to act fast and contact a qualified, experienced DUI lawyer to avoid losing your license and facing other severe consequences.
An Administrative Hearing is an essential step toward getting your OWI charges reduced or dropped.
Notice to Suspend Operating Privileges and Administrative Review Request Form
When you are pulled over because a police officer suspects you are intoxicated, you will be asked to submit to roadside sobriety tests, a breath test, a blood or urine test, or a combination of examinations. Legally, you are allowed to refuse field sobriety and chemical tests, but there are penalties for refusal.
After your arrest, you will receive a pink Notice of Intent to Suspend Operating Privilege, which shows your test results and serves as a temporary driver’s license for 30 days, and a yellow Administrative Review Request, which is a personal notice of your right to request an administrative hearing.
If you are given a breathalyzer test, you will receive your Notice to Suspend and Administrative Review Request right away at the police station and will have 10 days to submit the form. If you are given chemical tests, the samples are sent to Madison and returned in 2 to 3 weeks. Once the police have the results, they will mail you the notice and form, and you will have 13 days from that date to request your hearing. If you do not schedule an administrative hearing, you could lose your license before your OWI court date.
Why You Need a Lawyer for an Administrative Hearing
Administrative hearings, also known as Administrative Per Se or APS, give you and your OWI defense attorney an opportunity to prepare for court, learn more about the evidence against you, and hear what the arresting officer says happened. Knowing these details can help you build a stronger defense for your trial. A solid OWI defense can be strengthened if you win your hearing, or weakened if you lose. Hire a criminal defense attorney to ensure the best outcome.
Talk to your drunk driving lawyer and submit the administrative hearing request as soon as possible after your arrest. Even if you don’t think you want to have an administrative review, make sure to send in the paperwork before the deadline. It’s possible an important issue or detail will appear after the deadline, and you’ll wish you had requested a hearing. You can always cancel the hearing later if you and your attorney decide against it after reviewing police reports and other information.
It is critical to have an experience DUI defense attorney by your side at the administrative hearing. A lawyer trained in field sobriety test procedure will thoroughly question arresting officers on which tests were administered and how they were performed.
In an administrative review, examiners only need proof there was “reasonable certainty” you were under the influence, not “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Reasonable certainty is a lower burden to prove, and it is crucial to have a DUI lawyer who knows the system inside and out to defend you and your rights.
What to Expect from the OWI Administrative Review Process
Once you’ve submitted your request for an administrative hearing, the DMV will contact you or your attorney within 30 days to schedule the review. The hearing will be held at the DMV nearest to where the offense occurred. A Wisconsin DMV employee serves as both prosecutor and judge.
At the hearing, after you’ve been correctly identified as the accused, several issues regarding your arrest are examined:
- Whether you were driving the vehicle
- Whether the stop was legal
- Whether the arrest was valid
- Whether there was reasonable belief you were intoxicated and probably cause for arrest
- Whether you were informed of your options regarding tests, including the consequences of refusal
- Whether any tests were administered and performed properly
- Whether test results indicated PAC or a detectable amount of drugs
- Whether you were driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the arrest
- Whether you had a valid prescription for meth or THC
A large portion of the evidence presented at the administrative hearing is hearsay, or statements made by people not present at the review. Your license cannot be suspended based on these statements as they are not admissible in court and can be challenged.
If you lose this hearing, you lose your license. The length of your suspension will be significantly longer if you refused a chemical test. Your driver’s license will be returned at the end of the suspension, provided you pay a reissue fee and proof of financial responsibility. You may request another hearing to challenge the outcome of this administrative suspension hearing.
If you win, you get to keep your license for now, but the administrative hearing is completely separate from your court trial. You can still be convicted and lose your driver’s license during your civil or criminal OWI court hearing.
Milwaukee OWI Defense Attorney with a Reputation for Winning
With our track record of winning cases and getting charges reduced or dropped, our criminal defense attorneys are recognized as some of the best in the state. We provide free case assessments and have years of experience in both prosecuting and defending drunk driving cases. Our Wisconsin OWI lawyers will represent you at your administrative hearing as well as in court to make sure you get the best possible outcome. If you choose to represent yourself, you risk losing your license and facing long-lasting consequences, such as fines, jail time, and doubled insurance rates.
Choose Grieve Law as your drunk driving defense law firm and protect your rights.