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Protecting Your Driver’s License After An OWI

If you are arrested in Wisconsin for operating while intoxicated and a sample of your blood, breath, or urine indicated that your BAC (blood alcohol content) was above the legal limit of .08, your license will automatically be suspended unless you take action to prevent it.

How To Prevent Driver’s License Suspension

When you are arrested for OWI, the arresting officer will notify the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT). If a request for an administrative hearing is not filed within 10 days of your arrest, or from the date the results of your BAC sample are provided to you, the DOT will automatically suspend your license for six months.
With that in mind, it is essential that you file a request for a review hearing as soon as possible after a drunk driving arrest. By making a timely request for an administrative review hearing, you prevent a license suspension from automatically occurring.
At the administrative hearing, your attorney can challenge whether the arresting officer had reasonable suspicion to initiate the traffic stop and probable cause to make the arrest, as well as determine whether the appropriate procedures were used to procure the blood, breath, or urine sample used to measure your blood alcohol level at the time of the arrest.

Occupational Licenses

If your license has been suspended or revoked, you may be eligible for an occupational license. If you are issued an occupational license, you will be permitted to operate a motor vehicle for up to 12 hours per day, and 60 hours per week. However, you will be limited to driving to and from:
  • Work
  • Religious places of worship
  • Or for authorized child rearing obligations

Your eligibility for an occupational license largely depends on why your license has been suspended or revoked. Specifically, if your license has been revoked because of an OWI-related conviction, the waiting period before you are eligible to receive an occupational license will depend on the number of prior OWI conviction you have received, as well as whether the OWI conviction also had a refusal associated with it.

OWI Effects On Commercial Driver’s Licenses

Convictions for OWI offenses can have serious consequences beyond fines or the potential of jail time. This is especially true for individuals who make their living working in jobs that require a commercial driver’s license (CDL). If you are convicted of a single OWI-related offense, or even if your license is merely administratively suspended because of an arrest for suspicion of OWI, you will lose your CDL for a year. Worse, if you are convicted of two OWI-related offenses, you will be permanently disqualified from obtaining a CDL. These CDL disqualifications occur regardless of whether the OWI occurred in a commercial or noncommercial vehicle.

Do you lose your license immediately after a DUI/OWI in Wisconsin?

Yes. In Wisconsin, being charged with OWI (the state-specific term for drunk driving) results in immediate suspension of your license. 

When To Call A Defense Lawyer

If you are arrested for suspicion of driving while intoxicated and are issued an intent to suspend license form, it is important to contact an attorney to ensure that a timely request for an administrative hearing is made. This is critical to help you keep your driver’s license, and to learn more about the evidence that might be used against you if you are prosecuted for OWI.

Our Madison drunk driving defense lawyers are experienced at preventing driver’s license suspensions, as well as attaining occupational licenses for those whose licenses have been suspended. Call us today for a free 30-minute initial review of your case or contact us online.