Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense that can result in heavy fines, suspension of your driver’s license, and even jail time. However, if you are facing multiple DUI charges, the consequences become even more severe.
Fenton Law knows that a DUI charge is not an automatic conviction. There are various legal strategies available that can help mitigate the charges or even lead to their dismissal.
This article explores some of these defense strategies your OWI attorney can use and how they can provide vital tools for those facing multiple DUI charges.
- Understanding Multiple DUI Offenses
- Working with an Experienced DUI Attorney
- Challenging Field Sobriety Tests
- Questioning the Validity of Breathalyzers
- Reviewing the Traffic Stop
- Negotiating a Plea Deal
- Highlighting Mitigating Factors
- Call Fenton Law Today
1. Understanding Multiple DUI Offenses
Understanding multiple DUI offenses is crucial when developing a defense strategy, as the stakes are considerably higher with each subsequent offense. In many jurisdictions, the penalties for DUI offenses escalate with each conviction, meaning that second, third, or subsequent charges can carry significantly harsher penalties. These can range from longer jail sentences, hefty fines, to long-term suspension or even revocation of your driver’s license.
For example, let’s review Wisconsin OWI penalties. For the first OWI, penalities include fines of $500+, revocation of your license for 6-9 months, and a sobriety program for a year if blood alcohol levels are high enough. For a third OWI, penalties include fines of $2,000+, revocation of your license for 2-3 years, a sobriety program for up to 3 years, and possible jail time of up to 1 year. As you can see, penalties increase dramatically as offenders look at multiple DUIs.
Additionally, multiple DUI convictions can lead to a felony charge, which comes with its own set of severe consequences. An experienced DUI attorney can help navigate these complexities, challenge the prosecution’s case, and work towards minimizing the potential impact on your life.
2. Working with an Experienced DUI Attorney
An attorney who specializes in DUI cases can help you navigate the complex legal landscape, understand the charges against you, and develop a defense strategy. There are several common DUI defenses that skilled lawyers find to be successful in OWI cases, including scrutinizing the evidence, challenging the validity of field sobriety tests or breathalyzer results, and finding potential weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, to name a few.
Additionally, a seasoned DUI lawyer can negotiate plea bargains, argue for reduced charges, or even push for the dismissal of your case in certain circumstances.
3. Challenging Field Sobriety Tests
Challenging field sobriety tests is a common and effective legal strategy in defending against DUI offenses. These tests are designed to measure a driver’s impairment due to alcohol or drugs. However, they can often be flawed or executed improperly.
For instance, external factors like uneven road surfaces, poor lighting, or even a person’s physical condition can influence test results. A skilled DUI attorney can challenge the validity of these tests in court, potentially leading to the dismissal of charges or at least casting doubt on the prosecution’s evidence.
4. Questioning the Validity of Breathalyzers
Questioning the validity of breathalyzer tests is another key strategy when defending against multiple DUI offenses. Breathalyzer reliability can depend on many factors and criminal defense attorneys play a significant role in scrutinizing the reliability and accuracy of these results.
For example, residual mouth alcohol, certain medical conditions, or even the consumption of certain foods can lead to false positives. Additionally, the protocols relating to ensuring breathalyzer accuracy vary from state to state, and the qualifications of the test administrator can also be called into question.
5. Reviewing the Traffic Stop
Reviewing the traffic stop is a critical component of building a defense strategy for multiple DUI offenses. The traffic stop itself must be lawful, meaning that law enforcement must have had a valid reason, or probable cause, to initiate the stop. This could be due to observable signs of impaired driving, such as swerving or speeding.
If the defense can prove that it was an unlawful traffic stop, any subsequent evidence obtained during the stop might be suppressed, potentially leading to the dismissal of charges. Additionally, the conduct and procedures followed by law enforcement during the traffic stop can also be scrutinized. For instance, if they failed to properly administer a breathalyzer test or violated the defendant’s rights in any way, this could form a solid basis for the defense.
6. Negotiating a Plea Deal
Negotiating a plea deal can be an effective strategy when handling multiple DUI offenses. A plea deal, sometimes referred to as a plea bargain, is an agreement between the defendant and the prosecution to avoid trial and reduce the charges or penalties.
An experienced DUI attorney can discuss settlement possibilities with the prosecutor, evaluate potential options with the client, and work toward a mutually agreeable solution. It’s important to note that plea bargaining aims to reduce the severity of the DUI offense, potentially to a lesser charge like a traffic violation. However, the ability to secure such a deal can depend on various factors, including the specifics of the case and the defendant’s previous record.
Remember, accepting a plea deal means pleading guilty, so it’s crucial to understand the implications fully before proceeding.
7. Highlighting Mitigating Factors
Mitigating factors are circumstances that don’t excuse or justify the alleged offense but can possibly reduce the defendant’s sentence. These can include having no previous DUI convictions, exhibiting good behavior during the arrest, or having a low blood alcohol content.
Other factors could be the defendant’s cooperation with law enforcement, genuine remorse, or proactive steps taken towards alcohol education or rehabilitation. An experienced attorney can effectively present these mitigating factors to help negotiate a lighter sentence or even dismissal of charges.
8. Call Fenton Law Today
Facing multiple DUI charges can be overwhelming and have serious consequences on your life. However, with the help of an experienced Milwaukee DUI attorney, you can fight these charges and protect your rights.
Contact Fenton Law, a trusted criminal defense law firm in Milwaukee, for expert guidance and representation. Your freedom and future are our top priority. Together, we can achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
By Attorney Jay Fenton, Owner of Fenton Law Office
Jay Fenton is a top-rated criminal defense attorney in Milwaukee who goes above and beyond for his clients. He has successfully secured favorable outcomes in countless cases, from negotiating plea agreements to filing pre-trial motions and managing complex appeals. Attorney Fenton also has had tremendous success achieving not-guilty verdicts at trial. His dedication and aggressiveness make him one of the best attorneys around.