Question: What are some of the new issues regarding warrants in drunk driving cases in Wisconsin?

Answer: Some of the big new issues regarding warrants in drunk driving cases are quite specific. One is the basis to obtain that warrant is an affidavit that is prepared by law enforcement, and the information that the magistrate relies upon to issue the warrant must be complete and accurate and allow the magistrate to come to, basically, their own independent determination that there is enough information to issue the warrant. So, one main area to look at when a warrant is issued in a drunk driving case is that information that was provided to the magistrate. Under the new rules in Wisconsin, that can be done either on the phone, but it must be recorded, or it can be done electronically or in person. And so you have to look and see what method was used to convey that information and whether that information is sufficient. So that’s one big area.

Another area that you can look at very closely on these: there are often forms that are used by the government or the state to authorize certain activity. Usually in an OWI case, it is to take blood from the person and to have that blood analyzed for evidence of drunk driving. You can look at the warrant to see if that is actually authorized. Some of the ones that we have seen do not authorize the state to do anything with the blood; it authorizes them to obtain the blood, but then leaves out the part where it would be analyzed either for a particular substance or in a particular manner. And usually warrants are required to be quite specific, so that is another area that can be challenged on these warrants.

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