Is an involuntary blood draw for the purposes of performing blood alcohol tests a violation of a person's Fourth Amendment right to avoid unreasonable searches and seizures? American citizens, including those who reside in Wisconsin, are guaranteed this protection by the mentioned amendment to the United States Constitution. However, law enforcement offices all across the country often test individuals against their wills for alcohol and other substances when those individuals are suspected of drunk or drugged driving. This post will look at some of the issues behind this debate.
As several prior posts on this Wisconsin DUI defense law blog have discussed, a breathalyzer test measures the concentration of alcohol that a person has in his system at the time he blows his breath into the testing device. A breathalyzer reading at or in excess of .08 generally indicates an impermissible level of alcohol in a driver's body. However, a reading below .08 does not guarantee that a driver will avoid arrest on DUI or another drunk driving-related charge.
Residents of Sheboygan, like people who live throughout the rest of the state and country, often enjoy the pastime of people-watching. A careful observer of people will often notice the big and small similarities and differences that exist between individuals within a single community. What they wear, how tall they might be, and how they carry themselves are just a few of the external qualities that people-watchers may note in others.
The effects of alcohol can vary from person to person. How much a person weighs, whether a person is male or female or even what the person had to eat prior to drinking can impact his perceived and actual levels of intoxication. In some cases, it can be very challenging to tell how inebriated a person is based simply on looking at him.
For anyone who has engaged in drunken driving, encountering a Wisconsin police officer on the roads can lead to a traffic stop, sobriety test and possible arrest. Police officers are trained to identify and pull over individuals that they suspect of being intoxicated and have the authority to make arrests for DUI. The state has set a minimum blood alcohol count of .08 as the threshold for determining if a driver is intoxicated, and police officers test for that minimum when they make traffic stops.
Drunk driving charges can happen to just about anyone. For instance, consider Milwaukee Brewer Yovani Gallardo. The pitcher was pulled over earlier this month in Milwaukee, and a breath test indicated that his blood-alcohol level was 0.22 percent.
Prosecutors, judges and police in Wisconsin will have to make some adjustments after the recent Supreme Court ruling on warrantless blood draws in OWI cases. Wisconsin and 28 other states currently don't require a search warrant to draw blood from a person suspected of drunk driving. In effect, police have been able to forcibly administer a blood test without a driver's consent.
We've blogged before about the serious penalties associated with repeat DUI convictions. The more convictions a person has, the greater the penalties become. Wisconsin residents facing subsequent OWI charges could lose their driver's licenses, pay steep fines, have to install an ignition interlock device and spend time in jail. Anyone who is up against these possible outcomes will need an aggressive DUI defense.
In Wisconsin, multiple OWI offenses mean increased penalties, including the suspension of a driver's license and even jail time. What people accused of drunk driving need to know is that defenses are available to help protect the defendant's rights.
A DUI conviction in Wisconsin comes with serious penalties. If a person is faced with drunk driving charges, he or she should never just give up and let prosecutors have their way. It's important to fight DUI charges to ensure the protection of the defendant's freedom, future and wallet.