People throughout Wisconsin have been there -- they had one too many drinks and need to drive home. Getting behind the wheel while intoxicated can lead to serious consequences, but you should know that if you find yourself in this situation, and if a police officer made a procedural mistake, your charges could be reduced or dropped.
A bill that would increase penalties for repeat OWI offenses is receiving major support from Wisconsin lawmakers. The bill was passed unanimously in the state Senate in November, and police organizations have also voiced their support for the measure.
Ignition interlock devices -- otherwise known as IIDs -- are increasingly part of the penalties for drunk driving convictions in Wisconsin and nationwide. In addition to preventing you from operating your vehicle if alcohol is detected on your breath, installation of an IID adds a significant cost to an OWI conviction.
The Wisconsin legislature is considering three bills that would increase penalties for people convicted of drunk driving.
The area around a person's home, in legal terms, is called the curtilage. This area is constitutionally protected from warrantless search and seizure. For example, a police officer would generally need a warrant to enter and search your yard, your private garage or another area around your home where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
What gives a police officer the right to stop your vehicle? Basically, the officer must have reason to suspect that a violation has been committed, but what constitutes reasonable suspicion is not always clear.
In criminal defense, when we talk about "reasonable suspicion of criminal activity," we're talking about just that: reason to think that a crime has been committed. In the context of traffic stops, a police officer must have reasonable suspicion to pull you over.
Like other states, Wisconsin has increased drunk driving penalties in recent years to include ignition interlock devices, or IIDs. These devices prevent you from driving if they detect alcohol on your breath.