Refusing Tests - Wisconsin Implied Consent
WARNING! If you refuse to submit to a breath or blood test after being arrested for drunk driving in Wisconsin, you have ten days, not counting Saturdays, Sundays, or legal holidays from the date in the upper right corner of the form (usually the date you were stopped, but sometimes the next day if you were stopped shortly before midnight) in which to demand a "refusal hearing." If you don't file the "refusal hearing demand" within this short time period, you'll lose your license for at least one year, and potentially as many as three years (depending on whether you've had drunk driving or refusal convictions in past years anywhere in the United States).
Under Wisconsin's implied consent rule, if you refuse to submit to a test to determine if the percentage of alcohol in your bloodstream is in excess of legal limits, police can (and likely will) arrest you because the refusal establishes probable cause for arrest.
A test refusal can also result in additional penalties including driver's license revocation or suspension for a minimum period of one year, and up to a maximum period of 3 years.
If you hire Van Wagner & Wood before the ten (10) day period has expired since you were arrested, the chances are good that they can demand a refusal hearing and save your driver's license in the meantime.
Many people ask, "Did I do the right thing when I refused the test?"
Maybe. There is no simple answer to this question. By refusing a test, you may prevent police from learning your alcohol concentration, but you will also give them probable cause to arrest you. If you subsequently fail to demand a refusal hearing within ten (10) days, your license can be taken for a minimum of one (1) year and potentially up to three (3) years, depending on the number of prior convictions (including refusals).
Second guessing this decision isn't fruitful. The important thing is to take advantage of the defenses which that choice creates, and to be certain to request a refusal hearing within ten days afterward, regardless of when your court date may be set. If you don't demand the hearing in time, you lose a lot of defenses, and hurt your case.
Special Defenses available when you refuse the test
Refusal cases offer distinct and unique defenses, part of the special procedures which exist in refusal cases. These can be of incalculable benefit in defense of the case.
When a driver refuses to submit to a police breath or blood test, the police officer will likely arrest them, and the Department of Motor Vehicles will subsequently issue a "Notice of Intent to Revoke." This document starts a lawsuit separate and apart from the drunk driving case, and one that is governed by rules of procedure that are much the same as those which apply in most other civil cases, such as lawsuits for injuries or damages.
A defense lawyer can then question the arresting officer, for example, in the lawyer's office, under oath, and without a judge present. The answers can be used in court, and to prepare for court. The answers can disclose information the police withheld from their reports, and didn't want to disclose.
Drunk Driving Defense Lawyer
If you have been arrested for drunk driving, you must act quickly to save your driver's license. Please call an attorney at Van Wagner & Wood right away for a brief, but professional free "first-impression" analysis of your drunk driving arrest and information about what you can and what you must do to preserve your rights and privileges under Wisconsin law. Attorney Tracey Wood is Wisconsin's foremost authority and expert advisor on drunk driving law and the only Wisconsin attorney ever appointed to the board for the National College for DUI Defense.
If you have already been convicted of drunk driving, you may have post-conviction remedies available to you that are often times missed by attorneys who are unfamiliar with prior drunk driving conviction challenges and appeals.
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