Enforcement officers in Wisconsin are taking driving under the influence, or DUI, violations seriously this summer. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, over 300 agencies across the state will be on duty through Labor Day weekend in an attempt to discourage drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel and remove those who choose to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol from the state's roadways.
Similar attempts have been made in the past. Officers issued almost 1,000 citations during the same time period in 2012. The campaign, called "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over," operates throughout southeastern Wisconsin.
Pulled over? Take the charges seriously.
If you were pulled over under suspicions of DUI in Wisconsin, either during this campaign or any other time, it is important to take the charges seriously. Even a first offense can come with serious penalties. As of September, 2012, these penalties can include:
- Up to $300 in monetary penalties.
- Driver's license revocation of six to nine months.
- In some cases, installation of ignition interlock device may be required.
Installation of an ignition interlock device is only required in some cases. The device, which requires a driver to provide a breath sample before it allows the vehicle to start, is generally required when a driver is accused of having a blood alcohol content at or above 0.15. The device is installed on the driver's primary vehicle for one year. The costs of maintaining this device are generally paid by the driver. The cost can vary, but some estimates released by Wisconsin's Department of Transportation put the annual cost over $1,000.
The impact of a DUI conviction spans beyond these criminal penalties. In addition to fines and the potential of an ignition interlock device monitoring the driver's blood alcohol content whenever the driver attempts to drive, it can be more difficult to find employment and housing. Both businesses and rental agencies can conduct background checks or ask applicants to disclose any criminal history. A DUI conviction would appear on the applicant's criminal history, potentially leading an employer or future landlord to further question the qualifications of the applicant.
As a result, it is important to take these charges seriously before they become a conviction. If you are charged with a DUI in Wisconsin, various defenses may be available. For example, if an enforcement officer did not follow the law when stopping your vehicle, any evidence confiscated during the stop may not be admissible in court. This could lead to a reduction or even dismissal in charges.
Every situation is unique. Contact an experienced Wisconsin DUI lawyer to discuss your case and better protect your legal rights.