Wisconsin has long had a reputation as a state that is relatively lenient on drunk driving charges. That reputation isn't entirely deserved, and things are changing quickly. Recently, lawmakers have been moving to toughen the state's penalties for impaired drivers.
When discussing drunk driving charges, people often talk about the so-called legal limit. This term is misleading in several ways, and totally out of place when discussing drivers under age 21. Under Wisconsin law, people younger than 21 may not legally drive with any amount of alcohol in their system.
Police do not have an unlimited right to use testing procedures on suspected drunk drivers. There are constitutional protections against invalid or unlawful tests. However, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a surprise ruling in June that allowed Sheboygan, Wisconsin police to administer a blood test to a driver while he was unconscious.
A drunk driving arrest can have life-altering consequences. Drunk driving defense attorneys may be necessary to combat charges and lessen serious penalties.
Blood testing is an important tool for police in drunk driving cases. Motorists have certain rights when confronted with testing. But, in a Wisconsin DUI case, the U.S. Supreme Court is trying to determine whether police must seek a warrant to draw blood from an unconscious driver.
It is commonly believed that an expunged criminal conviction is erased and cannot be used against a person. However, an expunged drunk driving conviction may live to survive another day in Wisconsin. The state supreme court ruled last month that expunged convictions for drunk driving charges may be considered for later OWI convictions.
Wisconsin's implied consent law allows police to draw a suspected drunk driver's blood if they are unconscious. The state supreme court may review the legality of this law, which could be before the court in a third consecutive session.