If you have been arrested for operating under the influence of an intoxicant (OWI / DUI) or operating under the influence of a restricted controlled substance (drugs) you need to act quickly. Most of us rely on our drivers licenses to be able to travel to and from work, take children to school and practices, and to run our errands around town. It may come as a surprise to you, but the Wisconsin Department of Transportation can and will suspend or revoke your driving privileges even if you have not been convicted of your drunk driving offense. An important timeline begins the day of your arrest. You must be aware of important deadlines so that you may preserve your privilege to drive while you defend your case in court.
Notice of Intent to Suspend Operating Privilege
If you have a driver’s license in the state of Wisconsin, you are presumed to have given consent to the collection of your blood or breath if lawfully requested by law enforcement at the time of an drunk driving arrest. If during the arrest process you agreed to submit to a test of your blood or your breath and the test results show a result of .08 or higher, the arresting officer should have provided you a Wisconsin Department of Transportation document called the Notice of Intent to Suspend Operating Privilege. If you submitted to a test of your breath at the police station or Sheriff’s office, you most likely will have been provided this document shortly after you took the test. If you provided a sample of your blood, the Notice will most likely be mailed to you.
If you do nothing after receiving this notice, the Department of Transportation will suspend your driving privileges for six months. The suspension will start 30 days after the date that you received notice. This is called an administrative suspension. You have the right to challenge this administrative suspension, but you must act quickly. You must ask that the department review this decision to suspend your driving privileges by requesting an Administrative Suspension Review Hearing. You must make this request within 10 days after receiving your notice in person or within 13 days of receiving the notice if it was mailed to you. Simply requesting this hearing, however, does not guarantee that the department will not suspend your drivers license after the 30 day period. An experienced drunk driving defense lawyer should be consulted to make sure you’re right to this review hearing is properly requested and done with in the time limit. Further, your lawyer will help you properly argue the 8 relevant issues at the review hearing. In addition, even if you are unsuccessful at the review hearing, simply requesting and having this review will preserve your right to ask your trial judge to put the suspension on hold while you negotiate or fight your drunk driving case. An experienced defense lawyer should be able to help you with this process and keep your driving privileges intact while your case is pending in court.
Notice of Intent to Revoke Operating Privilege
If you refuse to provide a sample of your blood or breath, your case takes a different path. Before taking a sample of your blood or your breath for chemical testing, the arresting officer should have read to you a document called the Informing the Accused Form. The officer will ask you if you will submit to an evidentiary test. If you responded NO, you will be considered to have refused the test. Even if you refused, the police may still be able to take a sample of your blood by obtaining a search warrant. If you refused, the arresting officer should have provided to you a document called the Notice of Intent to Revoke Operating Privilege. If you do nothing after receiving this document, you face a revocation of your driving privileges that will begin 30 days after you received the Notice. Even if you did refuse a test, you have the right to contest this revocation, but again, you must act quickly. You only have 10 days from the date you receive your Notice to request a refusal hearing with the appropriate court. An experienced defense lawyer will help you make sure your request is properly filed. Your driving privileges will remain intact until the court holds your Refusal Hearing. Your defense lawyer may be able to have this refusal hearing continued in court along with your drunk driving case which will allow you to keep your driver’s license while you negotiate and fight your case.
If you are arrested for drunk driving, please keep these timelines in mind. Time is of the essence. If you hope to keep your driver’s license while you fight your drunk driving case, it is wise to contact an experienced Brennan Steil defense lawyer immediately.
About the Author
Joshua Patrick Grube
Joshua is an aggressive trial lawyer with extensive trial experience. As an 11 year veteran State Prosecutor, Joshua has tried over 100 cases to a Judge or Jury. From disorderly conduct and drunk driving cases to felony drug delivery and child sexual assault, Joshua routinely convinced juries to side with him. Learn more.