As discussed in last week's entry on this Wisconsin drunk driving defense blog, the legal limit of a person's blood alcohol content has changed over time. The serious consequences that can attach when a person is found to have a BAC above that legal limit can reduce his rights and challenge his ability to work and move forward with his life. Serious consequences can also, however, attach when a person chooses not to submit to BAC testing after an alleged drunk driving stop.
Last week's post on this Sheboygan DUI defense blog discussed how the state of Wisconsin can compel an individual to submit to testing to determine his blood alcohol concentration when that individual is suspected of drunk driving. Prior posts on this blog have also discussed the fact that Wisconsin has on its books an implied consent law. That law generally means that when a person chooses to drive on Wisconsin roads, he also consents to testing when authorities believe he is driving under the influence.
When stopped for a case of suspected drunk driving, a Wisconsin resident may consider his options to refuse to submit to a blood or breath test. Like many other states, Wisconsin penalizes individuals who fail to submit to such tests when asked; however, an individual may hope that he could prove his rights were violated by the law enforcement official's request. In fact, in 2013 the United States Supreme Court heard a case about just this issue and ruled that police cannot compel a suspect to submit to blood testing without a warrant or the suspect's consent.
Last week's blog post looked at the efficacy of private breathalyzers for personal use. While those devices may give Wisconsin drivers a chance to assess their sobriety before driving, the results of a self-administered test will not be factored into an officer's decision to arrest a person for allegedly driving drunk. A variety of tests can be used to determine a driver's level of intoxication and those blood alcohol tests can be run on a driver's hair, breath, blood, urine or saliva.
When a Wisconsin resident is pulled over and asked to submit to an alcohol breath test he may panic and want to refuse the process. Whether that person chooses to refuse to submit is up to him, but test refusal can come with serious legal consequences including an immediate license suspension. A person in just such a situation may wonder if there are alternatives to understanding his blood alcohol concentration that can be utilized before being stopped by a law enforcement official.
Previous posts on this blog have discussed how the state of Wisconsin has looked at various ways to change and potentially toughen the state's drunk driving laws. Citizens on both sides of the debate have weighed in; at this time no major changes are immediately on the horizon for local drivers. However, one drunk driving law that some citizens may not be aware of is currently in operation and can have serious consequences for a person's ability to drive.
Many Wisconsin drivers may be under the assumption that their blood alcohol concentrations goes up and down exclusively based on how much they have had to drink. While alcohol intake does directly affect BAC, other factors can play into how a breath test will read a person's level of intoxication. Knowing these factors can help a person decide if he should refuse to take a breath or chemical test.
Through their prolific use on cop shows on primetime television, Miranda rights are somewhat recognizable to many Wisconsin residents. Individuals may feel comfortable that when faced with arrest they have the rights to remain silent and to hire an attorney of their choosing. However, for some people who are arrested for drunk driving there is an even more significant right they may wonder if they have.
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.
When imagining an alleged drunk driving stop, many Wisconsin residents might picture a person standing on the side of the road and being asked to demonstrate his coordination to police officers. Touching his nose, walking in a straight line and saying the alphabet backwards are all purported tests that alleged drunk drivers can face during stops.