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What can I legally refuse to do during an OWI arrest?

On Behalf of | Jul 20, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

When a police officer pulls you over for suspicion of an OWI, it is difficult to remain calm. However, you still have rights even if the arresting officer does not make that clear.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, your first OWI offense leads to a license suspension. Additionally, you might receive a mandatory admission interlock device if your blood alcohol concentration measures above .15. To improve your odds of a dismissed OWI case, you need to understand your legal rights during the arrest.

Field sobriety tests are not mandatory

Every state follows an implied consent law for drunk driving. This means that once a police officer has probable cause to pull you over, you legally must submit to a breath test or face penalties. You might not realize that implied consent does not apply to field sobriety tests. Not only that, but it is in your best interest to politely refuse to perform one. Police officers use field sobriety tests to create evidence that proves you are guilty. They are subjective and will not help your case at all. However, once you politely refuse the test, expect the officer to take you into custody. Remain calm and do not give any statements.

Roadside breath tests are not mandatory

Though you legally must take a breath test, you do not have to take the test on the roadside unless you have a commercial license. You only must take the test once the police officer places you under arrest.

Knowing what you can and cannot do might prevent a guilty conviction or lead to a reduced sentence. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees during an OWI arrest. The best strategy is to give yourself as many chances to succeed as possible.