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Implied Consent Law

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The Wisconsin Implied Consent Law

Wisconsin’s Implied Consent Law is a legislatively-created tool to help law enforcement officers collect evidence following an arrest of a person for OWI and OWPAC. Essentially, the law provides that an individual, by simply operating or driving a motor vehicle on the public highways of this state, is deemed to have given his or her consent to collect and test one or more samples of an individual’s blood, breath or urine after an arrest for an OWI, an OWPAC, or a related violation. Ordinarily, following an arrest for an OWI, an OWPAC, or a related violation, the arresting officer will request that the individual either submit to blood, breath or urine test. The law enforcement agency does have the authority under the law to request more than one sample or test.

The Implied Consent Law creates two potential penalties affecting an individual’s operating privileges: 1) an “Administrative Suspension” pursuant to chemical test results; and 2) a court-ordered revocation pursuant to a “Refusal” to submit to a chemical test. The “Administrative Suspension” procedure applies if an individual ratifies his or her “implied consent” by submitting to the chemical test at the request of law enforcement. If the results of the chemical test report a value of an alcohol concentration in excess of that permitted by law or the presence of a restricted controlled substance, the individual’s operating privileges are subject to suspension for period of six (6) months. The arresting officer is required to issue a “Notice of Administrative Suspension.” The “Refusal” procedure applies if an individual revokes his or her “implied consent” by refusing to submit to the chemical test at the request of law enforcement. In this instance, the arresting officer is required to immediately issue a “Notice of Intent to Revoke Operating Privileges.” An individual’s operating privileges, depending on his or her traffic record, are subject to revocation for a period of twelve (12) months or longer. In addition, a revocation or suspension under the Implied Consent Law can be used to subsequently enhance the penalty to an OWI or an OWPAC charge in the future.

The Administrative Suspension process and a Refusal charge can be contested and challenged. However, there are extremely short time-frames involved to bring a challenge and the nature of the challenges are limited by statute. An Administrative Suspension process and a Refusal charge are serious and should be taken as seriously as the OWI charge and OWPAC charge itself. Failure to correctly challenge the violations may lead to, not only the loss of operating privileges, but the loss of potentially critical information necessary to mount a successful defense.

Read your paperwork carefully. If you would like to seek administrative review of the suspension / revocation (in hopes that the suspension / revocation is overturned), you or your attorney must request a hearing generally within 10 days of your arrest. Keep in mind that this administrative review applies only to your implied consent administrative action and has nothing to do with the OWI criminal charge.

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