The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects all citizens against illegal search and seizure. To ensure that this right is upheld, police officers are required to follow proper protocol before stopping a driver on suspicion of any crime, including operating while intoxicated (OWI). In fact, if an officer does not have probable cause before pulling a driver over, this may be enough to have any evidence collected—and even the charges themselves—dismissed in a Wisconsin OWI case.
An officer cannot just pull over vehicles to see if the driver is under the influence; he or she must generally observe a crime or offense being committed before making a traffic stop. In the case of OWI, this may include seeing the driver cross a center line or even drinking from an alcohol container. If the officer is unable to successfully establish the reason pulling over the driver, the legality of the stop may be called into question.
To prove that there was not probable cause, an attorney may request the patrol car’s videotape evidence. If, upon viewing the video, the attorney finds that your driving behaviors did not show that you were under the influence, he or she may file a suppression motion, which may lead to having your charges dismissed.
A lack of probable cause defense will not just help your criminal charges—it can also be used to appeal your administrative license suspension. Under Wisconsin law, any person arrested for OWI after failing or refusing to take the blood alcohol content (BAC) test will have his or her driver’s license suspended by the Department of Transportation (DOT). While you do have 10 days to submit a hearing request to the DOT, appealing this suspension is very difficult.
One of the ways you can successfully contest your license suspension is to show the officer did not have probable cause to make an OWI stop. If your lawyer can establish this fact at the administrative hearing, your license will be reinstated.
Because our firm only handles OWI cases, our attorneys are very familiar with the most common defense strategies and can apply this knowledge to your charges. Please complete our online form now, and an attorney will contact you for a consultation and to discuss if contesting the OWI stop is possible in your situation.