After an OWI arrest, you shouldn’t have to suffer without driving privileges while your case is still unsdecided. We strongly recommend requesting an administrative hearing to contest your driver’s license suspension. There are zero downsides and plenty of benefits – you stand to keep your license, and it’s a great chance to learn important facts about your case in the process. But you must act fast. If you don’t contest your driver’s license suspension within ten days of your OWI arrest, you’ll miss your opportunity to keep your driving privileges.
What Is the Process for Contesting My Driver’s License Suspension?
The most crucial step is to hire an experienced attorney right away after your arrest, if possible. They can help you request an OWI administrative hearing. A hearing needs to be requested within 10 days of an arrest in a breath test case or 10 days from the date of the testing of the blood in a blood test case. After that, a hearing will be set within 30 days to determine if you get to keep your license while you wait for your OWI case to go to court.
What Happens at an OWI Administrative Hearing to Contest a Driver’s License Suspension in Wisconsin?
The administrative hearing takes place within 30 days of your breath or blood test result. An examiner from the Department of Transportation oversees the hearing. We advise all our clients to contest their suspensions and have an administrative hearing because it is our one chance to learn about the facts of the case before opposing counsel gets involved. It’s best if you have an attorney there to listen for important information you might miss.
What Are the Benefits and Drawbacks to Contesting the Suspension?
Honestly, there are no drawbacks. If you don’t contest it, you’ll lose your license. If you do, you have a chance to keep it. We always tell our clients to go through with the hearing. Getting your license restored can be an essential factor in staying hopeful about your case, and we want all of our clients to have hope.
Am I Required To Be Present At The Hearing?
No, you do not have to be there in person. We try to avoid interrupting your day-to-day life as much as possible. We also don’t want you to take the stand at this point and answer questions from the hearing examiner or the arresting officer, who will both be there.
What Are Some Common Arguments for Contesting the Suspension?
There are countless ways to contest the suspension. Each case is different. We can prove the officer lacked probable cause or didn’t properly inform you about the consequences of taking or refusing a breath or blood test. We’ve also argued that there were issues with the 20-minute observation times for breath tests. There are many other arguments that can be made, so don’t lose hope
Will My Breath or Blood Test Results Be Used Against Me in the Hearing?
The hearing examiner will have the arresting officer’s report, which will include the breath or blood test results. As your attorney, we can cross-examine the officer to look for information that might be helpful for your defense.
Will My Field Sobriety Test Be Used Against Me in the Hearing?
The arresting officer’s report will include field sobriety test results. However, we can cross-examine the officer about how the field sobriety test relates to their supposed probable cause or lack of it.
Will Past OWI Charges Be Used Against Me in the Hearing?
No, past charges cannot influence the outcome of the hearing. A past OWI does not prove your guilt of a subsequent OWI. Where past OWIs come in is determining the length of your license suspension if the hearing administrator decides to reject your request to keep your license. For a first offense, the suspension is six to nine months. For a second offense, 12 to 18 months. For third and subsequent offenses, it’s two to three years.
What Happens if We Lose the Hearing?
If we lose and want to fight the decision made at the administrative review hearing, we can file a judicial review request to have a judge evaluate the decision. If we do that, we request a stay of the license suspension while we wait for the judicial review so you can still drive. Otherwise, there will be a six-month suspension on your license, which could be lengthened if you are convicted.
Learn more about contesting your driver’s license suspension by calling (608) 490-5779 or scheduling a free, confidential case evaluation online.
Tracey Wood & Associates
1 S Pinckney St #950
Madison, WI 53703