In Wisconsin, you can refuse to submit to a chemical test after a drunk driving arrest, but you need to know the consequences. Drivers who refuse a breath test will be charged with unlawful refusal of chemical testing. An automatic license revocation could result, and to protect against that outcome, defendants have a 10-day window after the arrest to request a hearing. If you don't request that hearing, your driver's license will eventually be revoked, even if you are acquitted.
These issues may come up for a Janesville woman who initially refused to take part in field sobriety tests. The 49-year-old is up against a charge of fifth DUI. In Wisconsin, that means she is automatically charged with a felony, and a conviction carries penalties that are much more serious than those attached to most fourth DUI convictions.
Police were apparently called by a gas station employee who wanted someone to check on the woman. She was allegedly in the store and stumbling. The clerk also claimed that the woman couldn't find her vehicle in the parking lot and was having trouble using her debit card.
Police say that she entered her car before officers arrived. She allegedly drove away, and officers claim to have seen her vehicle cross into the oncoming traffic lane.
According to police, the woman conceded that she had consumed some undisclosed amount of alcohol, but she refused to engage in field sobriety tests. She was transported from the scene and apparently given a blood test at the Rock County Jail.
If you are convicted of felony DUI in Wisconsin, you could face a minimum six-month jail sentence. The fines increase significantly with a felony DUI conviction, and people accused of this crime will need a hands-on criminal defense to prevent or mitigate the negative repercussions.
Source: madison.com, "Janesville woman arrested for alleged 5th drunken driving offense," Bill Novak, April 8, 2013