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Police officer arrested for DWI and breath test refusal


Drivers in Sheboygan who are stopped by law enforcement on suspicion of DWI might not be aware of the law of implied consent, which says they are required to submit to a breath test if asked to do so. Even if no alcohol has been consumed or the driver has not surpassed the legal amount, there can still be charges filed for breath test refusal. Committing test refusal carries with it penalties and the law applies to everyone including public officials and members of law enforcement.

An off-duty police officer was cited for several infractions including going through a red light, driving under the influence and refusing a breathalyzer. He has not been suspended from his job because these charges, while serious, are not criminal charges. DWI and related charges are ordinance offenses.

Since his case has yet to be decided, he is still considered innocent. His job can't punish him for an act that he has not been found guilty of. Since a conviction for breath test refusal means that the driver's license will be suspended, the officer can be suspended from his job since it is required to have a valid driver's license for him to work.

It's a frequent mistake that drivers make in thinking that they are within their rights to refuse to take a breath test. The fact is that it is not a choice on the part of the driver. Implied consent means that the driver must take the test or face the penalties for refusal. These are separate from driving with a blood-alcohol content over the legal limit. A driver who commits refusal will face a suspension of driving privileges. A driver must request a hearing within ten days of the infraction to avoid having the license suspended. If the hearing is requested, the driver's license will be suspended after 30 days whether there was a conviction or acquittal.

In this case, the officer presumably knew that the law of implied consent required him to take the breath test, but he still chose not to take it. Given the fact that his job is possibly on the line and with a suspension of driving privileges and he won't be able to work, he must formulate a strong defense to the charges he faces. To do that, he should discuss the matter with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.

Source: WQOW.com, "Area police officer ticketed for drunk driving," Kristen Shill, June 24, 2014

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