Law enforcement officials in Wisconsin often have a strong desire to keep drivers who are under the influence of alcohol off the roadways. While this is understandable, accusations of drunk driving can have significant consequences. For example, many first-time and repeat offenders are often required to have an ignition interlock device installed.
Car accidents can happen at any time for a variety of reasons. When a car accident results in a fatality, many people -- law enforcement officers included -- want someone to blame. In fact, a man in Wisconsin now faces multiple criminal charges because it is believed that he caused a fatal accident; drunk driving is suspected.
Often, regardless of what the accusation is, a criminal conviction can have a significant impact on the rest of a person's life. This is true even if the person never commits another crime again. Two lawmakers in Wisconsin have recently proposed a bill that could potentially limit the damage that a first-time drunk driving conviction could have if the person meets certain circumstances.
Anyone who has watched dramatizations based on law enforcement officers has likely seen a show in which an officer's actions are based upon a "hunch." While such action may ultimately be successful on television, it may not be in real life in Wisconsin, depending on the circumstances. In fact, a court has recently overturned a drunk driving and weapons conviction following a traffic stop that was initiated based upon assumptions made by a sheriff's deputy.
It is easy to make assumptions. However, assumptions are often not fully supported by the evidence. In a criminal case, if there is not sufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the person must be found not guilty. Other than previous drunk driving accusations against a Wisconsin man, it is unclear what evidence supports the allegation that he was intoxicated prior to his most recent arrest.
When people are involved in a car accident, the adrenaline of the moment could cause them to react in ways that are out of character. However, it may be easy for this somewhat reflexive reaction to be misinterpreted by law enforcement officials. In fact, police in Wisconsin believe that drunk driving was a factor in a recent chain-reaction car crash.
Anyone who has driven with children in the vehicle likely knows that they can be distracting. Often, something as innocuous as handing a child a snack or drink could cause a driver to momentarily swerve or even lost control of the vehicle. Unfortunately, such an action could be viewed as drunk driving by those who may witness it. In fact, a man in Wisconsin was recently charged with OWI while two children were in his vehicle.
Anyone who has attended a fair in Wisconsin has likely experienced the traffic headaches that are associated with them. Often, the heavier, slow-moving traffic that often accompanies such events can make it possible for people to be involved in a traffic accident. Unfortunately, one man is now charged with drunk driving after a recent accident.
"Implied consent" is the legal theory that drivers, by accepting a state driver's license, agree to provide a breath sample upon request when a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe the driver is drunk. For a time, many states believed that drivers inherently agree to provide a blood sample to an officer with probable cause.