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DUI

A Skilled DUI/OWI Attorney

Experience You Can Trust

A DUI/OWI conviction can costly. The negative consequences of one may follow you for years to come. If you've been charged and are looking for skilled representation, choose Pitsch Law Offices, LLC. With over 15 years of experience, our DUI attorney is well-known in the Eastern Wisconsin area for delivering positive results and will work diligently to protect your rights. To learn more about how a DUI case works, please read below. If you would like to retain our firm for your case or want a FREE consultation, please contact us.

Four Phases to an OWI Stop and Arrest

There are generally four (4) phases to a DUI/OWI stop and arrest, as listed below.

Phase 1: The Stop
An officer doesn't always stop people with just and legal cause. We have gotten our client's cases dismissed for being stopped illegally, such as when an officer pulled one of our clients over for making too many right-hand turns, "because it was suspicious", or when a client was illegally stopped because an anonymous person made a call but the officer failed to first verify independently that there was a violation, or when our client was pulled over illegally by the police for flashing his high-beam lights at an oncoming car.

Phase 2: Personal Contact/Reasonable Suspicion
Just because you are stopped doesn't mean the officer can test you to see if you are drunk. Remember, the officer never stops you for Drunk Driving, you are stopped for violating the rules of the road, such as for speeding, or failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign, etc. To be able to put you through Field Sobriety Testing, the officer must establish "Reasonable Suspicion" that you are Intoxicated, not simply that you've been drinking. This is done by establishing, in the totality of the circumstances, that enough indicators are present to form such a belief. For example, officers look for red/glossy eyes, slurred speech, fumbling with your wallet/purse, having the odor of an intoxicant emanating from you, the admission of recently having consumed an intoxicant. Keep in mind that one indicator by itself does not necessarily amount to "Reasonable Suspicion." Note, it is not illegal to drink and then drive, you just can't drive while intoxicated or with a prohibited B.A.C. level and, the odor of alcohol is not by itself an indicator of being intoxicated, just simply that you may have drank or had a drink spilled on you. We've been able to get all of the testing and results suppressed and cases completely dismissed because there was no reasonable suspicion to believe our client was intoxicated; thus, no legal cause existed for the officer to begin an investigation into a possible OWI/BAC violation.

Phase 3: Pre-Arrest/Field Sobriety Testing (FST)
Just because the officer may have enough to have you perform Field Sobriety Testing (FST) does not mean he has enough to make an arrest, which is why they have you perform tests, such as the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test, Walk-And-Turn test, and the One-Leg-Stand (OLS) test. Officers rarely perform the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test, a.k.a. the “pen test” by the book and that can affect the reliability of the test and its ability to accurately predict a person’s level of intoxication. The HGN test is often times not an accurate predictor of impairment, as there are many different types and causes of Nystagmus, alcohol is only one of them. Additionally, there are many medical conditions that can invalidate such a test. Other tests, like the Walk-and-Turn (WAT) test, are often time performed incorrectly because the officer fails to correctly instruct the person on how to do the test or because the officer fails to properly demonstrate the test. Many times officers don’t correctly count the clues they are looking for, for example, if a person “steps of the line” more than once on the WAT, officers sometimes count each time as a separate clue. Whether you step off the line once or five times it is technically supposed to count as “one” clue, not five clues. In the OLS, officers sometimes instruct a person to stand with a rigid leg, which creates a higher (top end weighted) pivot point, causing the person to become unstable and lose balance. The key to this test is to slightly bend the leg you stand on and lean slightly backward, which creates a more sturdy base for balancing. Failure by an officer to properly instruct a person on any Field Sobriety Test may lead to suppression of that test and may also sometimes lead to the dismissal of your case. We have gotten our clients’ evidence suppressed and cases dismissed for violations in this phase.

Phase 4: Post-Arrest/Implied Consent
If you are arrested and “Probable Cause” is established under the “totality of the circumstances, it's not over yet. Following the arrest but prior to formal breath or blood testing, the officer is required by law to read you the Informing the Accused. Failure by the officer to inform you of those rights may lead to suppression of evidence of intoxication and your case being dismissed. Also, if you submit to an officer's request for formal testing, you may request secondary testing. The officer will provide you with secondary testing at no cost or permit you an alternative test of your choice at your cost. If you request secondary testing and the officer fails to provide you this opportunity, suppression of the primary test is the remedy, and your case may also be dismissed. We have been successful at getting our client's evidence suppressed and cases completely dismissed for these such violations, even if a jury previously found the person to be guilty.” This shows that a case can be won at any point.

Remember, a mistake by an officer at any one of these phases may result in your case being completely dismissed!!

General OWI - Penalties

Charges can vary depending upon the type of license you have to the level of OWI you are facing. Penalties can also depend upon the quality of representation you have as well. The difference between a general practitioner and an attorney who dedicates his or her practice to OWI defense can mean the difference in your case. Don’t be under-represented because you incorrectly believe that all attorneys are the same. Below is a breakdown, generally, by level of offense.

First Offense OWI:
  • Generally, there isn’t a jail sentence, unless there is an accident with injury or a passenger who is less than 16 years old in the car, which could mean up to 6 months jail
  • The fine can range from $150 – $300, plus substantial court costs
  • You may get 6 demerit points on your license and your driver’s license will be revoked for 6 to 9 months (or 1 year if there was a Refusal), but you will immediately qualify for an occupational license (or 30 days if there was a Refusal), as long as you obtain an SR22 high-risk rider insurance policy
  • If you have a blood alcohol content of .15 or higher, you will be required to have an Ignition Interlock device (IID) installed on your vehicle for 12 months
  • You will need to have an alcohol assessment (AODA)

Second Offense OWI:
  • You will be sentenced from 5 days to 6 months in jail
  • The fine can range from $350 to $1,100, plus substantial court costs
  • You may get 6 demerit points on your license and your driver’s license will be revoked for 12 to 18 months (or 3 years if there was a Refusal), and you have to wait 45 days (or 120 days if there was a Refusal or 12 months if 2 or more offenses in 5 years) before you are eligible for an occupational license, then you may get one as long as you obtain an SR22 high-risk rider insurance policy
  • Your vehicle will be required to be equipped with an Ignition Interlock Device for a minimum of 12 months and up to 18 months
  • You have to have an alcohol assessment (AODA)

Third Offense OWI:
  • You will be sentenced from 45 days to 12 months in jail or prison if a felony matter
  • Charges are Felony in nature if there was a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle
  • The fine can range from $600 to $2,000, plus substantial court costs, and can be doubled, tripled or quadrupled, depending upon your BAC level
  • You may get 6 demerit points on your license and your driver’s license will be revoked for 24 to 36 months (or 3 years if there was a Refusal), and you have to wait 45 days (or 120 days if there was a Refusal or 12 months if 2 or more offenses in 5 years) before you are eligible for an occupational license, then you may get one as long as you obtain an SR22 high-risk rider insurance policy
  • Your vehicle will be required to be equipped with an Ignition Interlock Device for a minimum of 12 months and up to 36 months
  • You have to have an alcohol assessment (AODA)

Fourth Offense OWI:
  • A Fourth Offense OWI is a Class H Felony where a prison sentence is possible.
  • Imprisonment from 60 days up to 6 years, or up to 12 years if a child under 16 y.o. was in the vehicle.
  • The fine can range from $600 to $10,000. plus substantial court costs, and can be doubled, tripled or quadrupled, depending upon your BAC level, and up to $20,000 if a child under 16 y.o. was in the vehicle
  • You may get 6 demerit points on your license and your driver’s license will be revoked for 24 to 36 months plus confinement time, and you have to wait 45 days before you are eligible for an occupational license, then you may get one as long as you obtain an SR22 high-risk rider insurance policy
  • Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for 1 to 3 years or 4 to 6 years if a child under 16 y.o. was in the vehicle, plus the confinement period, 
  • You must get an alcohol (AODA) assessment”
  • Additional penalties may apply

Fifth or Sixth Offense OWI:
  • A Fifth or Sixth Offense OWI is a Class G Felony where a prison sentence is likely.
  • Imprisonment from 6 months up to 10 years, or up to 20 years if a child under 16 y.o. was in the vehicle.
  • The fine will range up to $25,000, plus substantial court costs, and can be doubled, tripled or quadrupled, depending upon your BAC level, or up to $50,000 if a child under 16 y.o. was in the vehicle
  • You may get 6 demerit points on your license and your driver’s license will be revoked for 24 to 36 months plus confinement time, and you have to wait 45 days before you are eligible for an occupational license, then you may get one as long as you obtain an SR22 high-risk rider insurance policy
  • Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for 1 to 3 years or 4 to 6 years if a child under 16 y.o. was in the vehicle, plus the confinement period, 
  • You must get an alcohol (AODA) assessment
  • Additional penalties may apply

Seventh, Eighth or Ninth Offense OWI:
  • A Seventh, Eighth or Ninth Offense OWI is a Class F Felony where a prison sentence will be imposed.
  • Imprisonment from 3 years up to 12.5 years, or up to 25 years if a child under 16 y.o. was in the vehicle.
  • The fine will range up to $25,000, plus substantial court costs, and can be doubled, tripled or quadrupled, depending upon your BAC level, or up to $50,000 if a child under 16 y.o. was in the vehicle
  • You may get 6 demerit points on your license and your driver’s license will be revoked for 2-3 years, and you have to wait 45 days (or 120 days if there was a Refusal or 12 months if 2 or more offenses in 5 years) before you are eligible for an occupational license, then you may get one as long as you obtain an SR22 high-risk rider insurance policy
  • Your vehicle will be required to be equipped with an Ignition Interlock Device
  • You have to have an alcohol assessment (AODA)

Tenth or More Offense OWI:
  • A Seventh, Eighth or Ninth Offense OWI is a Class E Felony where a prison sentence will be imposed.
  • Imprisonment from 4 years up to 15 years, or up to 30 years if a child under 16 y.o. was in the vehicle.
  • The fine will range up to $50,000, plus substantial court costs, and can be doubled, tripled or quadrupled, depending upon your BAC level, or up to $100,000 if a child under 16 y.o. was in the vehicle
  • You may get 6 demerit points on your license and your driver’s license will be revoked for 2-3 years, and you have to wait 45 days (or 120 days if there was a Refusal or 12 months if 2 or more offenses in 5 years) before you are eligible for an occupational license, then you may get one as long as you obtain an SR22 high-risk rider insurance policy
  • Your vehicle will be required to be equipped with an Ignition Interlock Device
  • You have to have an alcohol assessment (AODA)
OWI

OWI With Injury - Penalties

There are different penalties for causing an injury to someone when operating while intoxicated depending upon whether you have had a prior offense. If you cause an injury with no prior offense and you don’t refuse chemical testing, you face fines of up to $2,000 and up to a year in jail. Your license shall be revoked for up to 2 years and, if your BAC level was .15% or higher, and you will be required to have an Ignition Interlock Device installed in your vehicle. However, if you have prior offenses or refuse the chemical testing after the arrest, you may be fined up to $10,000 and face up to 6 years in prison. But, if you cause great bodily harm to someone as a result of operating while intoxicated or kill someone, you could face overwhelming fines and penalties, including most of the rest of your life in prison.

OWI Causing Injury, No Priors & No Refusal
  • You will be sentenced anywhere from 30-days to 1-year in jail
  • The fine will range from $300 to $2,000, plus substantial court costs
  • You may get 6 demerit points on your license and your driver’s license will be revoked for 1-2 years, and you have to wait 60 days (or 120 days if there was a Refusal or 12 months if 2 or more offenses in 5 years) before you are eligible for an occupational license, then you may get one as long as you obtain an SR22 high-risk rider insurance policy
  • Your vehicle will be required to be equipped with an Ignition Interlock Device
  • You have to have an alcohol assessment (AODA)

OWI Causing Great Bodily Harm
  • You will be sentenced up to 12.5 years in prison
  • The fine will be up to $25,000, plus substantial court costs
  • You may get 6 demerit points on your license and your driver’s license will be revoked for 2 years, and you have to wait 120 days (or 12 months if 2 or more offenses in 5 years) before you are eligible for an occupational license, then you may get one as long as you obtain an SR22 high-risk rider insurance policy
  • Your vehicle will be required to be equipped with an Ignition Interlock Device
  • You have to have an alcohol assessment (AODA)

OWI Causing Injury, With Either an OWI Prior or Refusal
  • You will be sentenced up to 6 years in jail
  • The fine will be up to $10,000, plus substantial court costs
  • driver’s license will be revoked for 2-3 years, and you have to wait 45 days (or 120 days if there was a Refusal or 12 months if 2 or more offenses in 5 years) before you are eligible for an occupational license, then you may get one as long as you obtain an SR22 high-risk rider insurance policy
  • Your vehicle will be required to be equipped with an Ignition Interlock Device
  • You have to have an alcohol assessment (AODA)

OWI Homicide
  • You will be sentenced up to 25 years in prison if it’s a 1st offense OWI or up to 40 years if you have 1 or more prior OWI conviction(s)
  • The fine will range up to $100,000, plus substantial court costs
  • You may get 6 demerit points on your license and your driver’s license will be revoked for 5 years, and you have to wait 120 days (or 12 months if 2 or more offenses in 5 years) before you are eligible for an occupational license, then you may get one as long as you obtain an SR22 high-risk rider insurance policy
  • Your vehicle will be required to be equipped with an Ignition Interlock Device
  • You have to have an alcohol assessment (AODA)
OWI

OWI With a CDL - Penalties

Charges can vary from the type of license you have to the level of OWI you are facing. Penalties can also depend upon the quality of representation you have as well. The difference between an average attorney and a specialist in OWI can mean the difference in your case. Don’t be under-represented because you incorrectly believe that all attorneys are the same. Below is a breakdown, generally, by the level of offense.

Any Measurable Amount of Alcohol – Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Penalty
  • Your CDL will be Out-of-Service for 24 hrs
  • You will be fined $10, plus court costs
  • You are subject to 24-hour license seizure of your Class D/M license
  • There is no occupational license for your Class D/M license

PAC.04% or Greater but .08% or Less (First) – Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Penalty:
  • Your CDL will be Out-of-Service for 1 year, or 3 years if hauling hazardous materials requiring a placarding
  • You will be fined $150-$300, plus court costs
  • You are subject to 24-hour license seizure of your Class D/M license
  • You will be eligible for an occupational license for your Class D/M license after 15 days

PAC.04% or Greater but .08% or Less (Second) – Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Penalty:
  • There is a lifetime disqualification of your CDL
  • You may be incarcerated for between 5 days to 6 months in jail
  • You will be fined $300-$1,000, plus court costs
  • You are subject to 24-hour license seizure of your Class D/M license
  • You will be eligible for an occupational license for your Class D/M license after 15 days

FPAC.04% or Greater but .08% or Less (Third or Subsequent) – Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Penalty:
  • There is a lifetime disqualification of your CDL
  • You may be incarcerated for between 45 days to 1 year in jail
  • You will be fined $600-$2,000, plus court costs
  • You are subject to 24-hour license seizure of your Class D/M license
  • You will be eligible for an occupational license for your Class D/M license after 15 days

PAC.04% or Greater but .08% or Less (Causing Injury) – Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Penalty:
  • Your CDL will be disqualified for 1 year, or 3 years if hauling hazardous materials requiring placarding, or lifetime for 2nd offense
  • You may be incarcerated for between 30 days to 1 year in jail
  • You will be fined $300-$2,000, plus court costs
  • You are subject to 1-year revocation of your Class D/M license
  • You will be eligible for an occupational license for your Class D/M license after 15 days

PAC.04% or Greater but .08% or Less (Causing Injury & Prior .04%-.08% Violation or Prior OWI Conviction) – Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Penalty:
  • Your CDL will be disqualified for 1 year, or 3 years if hauling hazardous materials requiring placarding, or lifetime for 2nd offense
  • You may be incarcerated for between 6 months to 6 years in prison
  • You will be fined $600-$10,000, plus court costs
  • You are subject to 1-year revocation of your Class D/M license
  • You will be eligible for an occupational license for your Class D/M license after 15 days

PAC.04% or Greater but .08% or Less (Causing Great Bodily Harm) – Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Penalty:
  • Your CDL will be disqualified for 1 year, or 3 years if hauling hazardous materials requiring placarding, or lifetime for 2nd offense
  • You may be incarcerated for between 6 months to 6 years in prison
  • You will be fined up to $25,000, plus court costs
  • You are subject to 2-year revocation of your Class D/M license
  • You will be eligible for an occupational license for your Class D/M license after 120 days or, if 2 or more offenses within 5 years, after 1 year

PAC.04% or Greater but .08% or Less (Causing Death) – Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Penalty:
  • Your CDL will be disqualified for 1 year, or 3 years if hauling hazardous materials requiring placarding, or lifetime for 2nd offense
  • You may be incarcerated for between 6 months to 40 years in prison
  • You will be fined up to $100,000, plus court costs
  • You are subject to 5-year revocation of your Class D/M license
  • You will be eligible for an occupational license for your Class D/M license after 120 days or, if 2 or more offenses within 5 years, after 1 year

Refusal – Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) (First) Penalty:
  • Your CDL will out of service for 24 hours, disqualified for 1 year (343.315(2)(a), or 3 years is hauling hazardous materials requiring a placarding
  • You are subject to 1-year revocation of your Class D/M license
  • You will be eligible for an occupational license for your Class D/M license after 30 days

Refusal – Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) (Second w/in 10 years) Penalty:
  • There is a lifetime disqualification of your CDL
  • You are subject to 2-year revocation of your Class D/M license
  • You will be eligible for an occupational license for your Class D/M license after 90 days or, if 2 or more offenses within 5 years, after 1 year

Refusal – Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) (Third Offense Lifetime) Penalty
  • There is a lifetime disqualification of your CDL
  • You are subject to 3-year revocation of your Class D/M license
  • You will be eligible for an occupational license for your Class D/M license after 120 days or, if 2 or more offenses within 5 years, after 1 year
law books

Refusal - Penalties

Charges can vary from the type of license you have to the level of OWI you are facing. Penalties can also depend upon the quality of representation you have as well. The difference between an average attorney and a specialist in OWI can mean the difference in your case. Don’t be under-represented because you incorrectly believe that all attorneys are the same. Below is a breakdown, generally, by the level of offense.

Refusal (First)
  • There are 0 demerit points on your license, your driver’s license will be revoked for 1 year, and you have to wait 30 days before you are eligible for an occupational license, then you may get one as long as you obtain an SR22 high-risk rider insurance policy
  • Your vehicle will be required to be equipped with an Ignition Interlock Device
  • You have to have an alcohol assessment (AODA)

Refusal (Second)
  • There are 0 demerit points on your license, your driver’s license will be revoked for 2 years, and you have to wait 90 days (or 12 months if 2 or more offenses in 5 years) before you are eligible for an occupational license, then you may get one as long as you obtain an SR22 high-risk rider insurance policy
  • Your vehicle will be required to be equipped with an Ignition Interlock Device
  • You have to have an alcohol assessment (AODA)

Refusal (Third)
  • There are 0 demerit points on your license buy your driver’s license will be revoked for 3 years, and you have to wait 120 days (or 12 months if 2 or more offenses in 5 years) before you are eligible for an occupational license, then you may get one as long as you obtain an SR22 high-risk rider insurance policy
  • Your vehicle will be required to be equipped with an Ignition Interlock Device
  • You have to have an alcohol assessment (AODA)

Refusal – Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) (First) Penalty:
  • Your CDL will out of service for 24 hours, disqualified for 1 year (343.315(2)(a), or 3 years is hauling hazardous materials requiring a placarding
  • You are subject to 1-year revocation of your Class D/M license
  • You will be eligible for an occupational license for your Class D/M license after 30 days

Refusal – Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) (Second w/in 10 years) Penalty:
  • There is a lifetime disqualification of your CDL
  • You are subject to 2-year revocation of your Class D/M license
  • You will be eligible for an occupational license for your Class D/M license after 90 days or, if 2 or more offenses within 5 years, after 1 year

Refusal – Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) (Third Offense Lifetime) Penalty:
  • There is a lifetime disqualification of your CDL
  • You are subject to 3-year revocation of your Class D/M license
  • You will be eligible for an occupational license for your Class D/M license after 120 days or, if 2 or more offenses within 5 years, after 1 year
gavel

OWI Guidelines by District

Below is the judicial district map of Wisconsin showing how the districts are divided.
District 1 District 2 District 4 District 7 District 8
Wisconsin
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"I hired Attorney Eric Pitsch to get my OWI dismissed. He did just that and I never had to go to court. I can’t believe it was that simple. Thank you 
Attorney Pitsch." 
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