If you’ve been charged with Operating While Intoxicated (OWI), chances are you took some kind of test on the scene that measured your level of intoxication. But some who are arrested for OWI receive a second citation for refusing to submit to a breath, blood or urine test even if they complied with the law enforcement officer’s requests on the scene.

The fact of that matter is, the test performed on the side of the road doesn’t count. According to Wisconsin law, someone who’s been arrested for OWI must provide a breath, blood or urine sample – and a roadside breath test doesn’t apply. This is referred to as a Preliminary Breath Test but does not count toward the one required upon arrest. Its purpose is simply to determine if there is cause for arrest. In fact, the Preliminary Breath Test is not permissible in court, and ironically, there are no penalties for refusing it.

But after you’ve been arrested, if you do not submit to a second test after you’ve been read the “Informing the Accused” script, your conviction for this refusal will result in license revocation and having a mandatory Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed in your car.

So why not just refuse to provide a sample in order to avoid the repercussions of an OWI conviction? It doesn’t work that way. A citation for refusal can’t be issued without a citation for OWI. To law enforcement and the court, refusal infers consciousness of guilt. And in most cases, the law enforcement will obtain a warrant for a blood sample anyway, whether you originally cooperate or not.

If you’ve been cited for a refusal in addition to your OWI accusation, the process to revoke your license will begin at the time of your arrest. At that point, you’ll have 10 days to submit a written request for a hearing. If not, the penalties will begin 30 days from the date written on the citation. But when the 10-day window passes, it’s extremely difficult to appeal the consequences of a refusal charge.

If you are facing the legal consequences of Operating While Intoxicated or refusal to submit to a breath, blood or urine test – the Waukesha, Wisconsin, attorneys at Huppertz & Powers, S.C., are devoted to fighting for the best outcome to protect your future.

Contact us today for a free consultation by calling 262-549-5979, filling out our criminal defense intake form, or by sending us an email.

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