Are there Defenses Available in a Wisconsin OWI Case?

After a drunk driving arrest, you may feel like the deck is stacked against you. Between the field sobriety tests and potentially a breathalyzer, you may feel like all you can do is plead guilty and throw yourself at the mercy of the court.

Importantly, you do not automatically have to plead guilty to an OWI charge in Wisconsin. Like any criminal case, you have rights, and one of them is that you are presumed to be innocent until you are proven guilty. There are defenses that you can use to fight OWI charges, and a skilled Wisconsin criminal defense lawyer can help you determine which one may be right for your case.

The Traffic Stop Was Illegal

In order to validly stop you for further scrutiny when you are driving, police must have a reasonable suspicion that you are engaging in criminal activity. The officer must be able to articulate their suspicion in light of their experience. A mere hunch is not enough to be reasonable suspicion.

However, police officers may profile a suspect and not have reasonable suspicion to stop them. It does not matter that they later learned that the driver was under the influence. The question is whether the stop itself was legal. If the officer lacked reasonable suspicion to stop you, it may be possible to have your case thrown out.

The Breathalyzer Was Improperly Calibrated

The officer may testify that they say you are driving erratically. However, much of the case may rest on the evidence that is obtained from the Breathalyzer machine. There have been times when miscalibrated machines have led to a string of unreliable results, possibly resulting in wrongful convictions. You may have been charged with a more serious form of OWI based on the readings of the Breathalyzer. The machine itself may have been faulty, or it was improperly programmed.

Rising Blood Alcohol Content

Your BAC continues to rise for a time, even after you stop drinking. You may have been tested well after the traffic stop and have a reading that is just barely over the legal limit. Thus, at the time that you were driving, you may have had a BAC that was under the legal limit. However, you would also need to present some evidence about how you were driving because the legal BAC limit is a presumption, and you can still be intoxicated if you are below the legal limit.

Acid Reflux and Other Medical Conditions

You may have a medical condition that causes higher BAC readings on a Breathalyzer test. For example, if you have acid reflux, the alcohol could travel back up to your mouth, leading to higher BAC readings. You may have only had one drink, but the alcohol coming back up your windpipe could magnify the effect on your Breathalyzer test. There are other conditions that can cause an artificially high reading on your Breathalyzer test. Your attorney could use evidence of your medical condition and how it affected your test to defend you from the charges.

Contact a Madison OWI Attorney Today

If you have been charged with OWI, you need a defense attorney immediately to defend you and help you assess your legal options. Call the attorneys at Stroud, Willink & Howard Criminal Defense Group LLC at 668-661-1054 or contact us online to discuss your case.