We are approaching the holiday season and with holiday season come parties. With parties comes alcohol and with alcohol, inevitably comes driving while under the influence. The best advice that anyone can give you at this time of year is to not drink and drive. Make arrangements in advance to have a driver, take a cab or sleep over. Have a party at home and avoid the drive all together. However, with all good intentions come mistakes and you may find yourself being pulled over for OWI.
Sometimes there are defenses to OWI and you should explore all of those defenses before agreeing to plea. However, in many situations you have no option other than to plead guilty or no contest which is the same as guilty. In my experience, however, there are many mitigating factors that a judge will consider when sentencing. Remember, OWI 1st – 3rd are considered misdemeanors which means that if you serve time you are in a county jail with Huber privileges. From the 4th offense on it is a felony and any time served will be in prison. My tips for decreased sentenced will have more impact on the misdemeanors than the felonies.
The court can consider both aggravating factors as well as mitigating factors. In multiple OWI cases one of the factors they look at is how much time has gone by since your last conviction. Generally, the longer the time between convictions the lighter the sentence.
Other mitigating factors can be as simple as being cooperative with the arresting officers, having a good driving record and volunteering to have a pre-conviction alcohol and drug assessment as well as treatment instead of waiting for the judge to order as he is required to do so in OWI convictions.
On the other hand, aggravating factors are such things as operating with a suspended or revoked driver’s license due to an OWI or non-compliance with OWI bond conditions. Being involved in a crash, excessive speeding or dangerous driving are factors that can increase your sentence.
Recent previous OWI charges can also be considered an aggravating factor as well as being uncooperative, belligerent or even violent toward the arresting officers. Of course, refusing to take field sobriety tests, breath tests or blood tests is a definite aggravating factor and you can rest assured of receiving the maximum.
Finally, your blood alcohol level can also be an aggravating factor. The higher BAC the harsher the sentence. Sometimes, this cannot be avoided so focus on the other factors to better your chance for a less severe sentence.
Again, the best defense is to not get arrested for OWI. However, if it happens and you have questions immediately consult an attorney. What you say and do in the first 24 hours of your arrest can sometimes determine your outcome both good or bad. With questions or concerns about OWI or other traffic violations contact the attorneys at Krueger Hernandez & Thompson SC. In the Madison area call (608) 824-8540, the Baraboo area call (608) 356-3961 or statewide call (866) 455-2993. Please feel free to check out our website at https://khtlawyers.com for more information.
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