In Wisconsin, a law enforcement officer can pull you over if they have reasonable suspicion that you are operating your vehicle while intoxicated (OWI). This can be a stressful situation whether or not you have been drinking, and it is important that you know how to approach it to avoid possibly making things worse. An unintentional mistake could lead to additional legal consequences or make it more difficult for you to contest the charges against you in a criminal proceeding.
What to Do When an Officer Pulls You Over
If you see that an officer is trying to pull you over, here are some suggestions for how to handle the situation:
- Stop your vehicle in a safe location: Pull over as soon as you can and stop and turn off your vehicle in an area where you will not obstruct traffic. Refusing to pull over can be considered in indication of evading or resisting arrest, which could lead to criminal charges.
- Prepare to show your driver’s license and registration: As with any traffic stop, an officer will likely ask you for your license and registration when pulling you over under suspicion of OWI, and you are required to comply. Try to have your information ready when the officer asks for it, and avoid sudden movements if you need to reach for it.
- Be aware of your rights: You have the right to decline to answer an officer’s questions that may lead to self-incrimination, including the question of whether you have been drinking. You also have the right to decline your consent to a search of your person or your vehicle if the officer asks for it.
- Understand the implied consent law: If you are arrested for OWI, you are legally required to consent to a chemical test of your blood alcohol content. Refusing to do so can result in an automatic suspension of your driver’s license for at least a year, and your refusal may also be used as evidence against you in a trial. However, you do not have to consent to a roadside breathalyzer test or a field sobriety test before you are arrested.
Contact a Milwaukee OWI Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested for OWI, the attorneys at Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP can work to protect your rights and defend you against the charges you are facing. We can help you determine whether the arresting officer handled your arrest improperly, and we can help you pursue the best defense strategies based on your situation. Contact a Milwaukee, WI criminal defense lawyer today at 414-271-1440.