Wisconsin Criminal Defense Attorneys Legal Services in Madison Criminal Defense in Madison.



Chirafisi & Verhoff OWI Defense


In the State of Wisconsin if you are over the legal limit of 0.08, you will get a companion OWI ticket called a PAC (prohibited alcohol concentration) or a BAC (blood alcohol concentration). We represent those charged with Operating While Intoxicated offenses or Driving Under the Influence offenses. If you refused to submit to a test of your blood, breath, or urine, you will be charged with a refusal offense. In the State of Wisconsin there is a mandatory one year driver license revocation on a refusal offense. If you hire Chirafisi & Verhoff, S.C. to represent you, we will file a Demand for Hearing on Refusal on your behalf before the 10 day time limit expires. (608) 250-3500.  

Frequently Used Terms

OWI: Operating while under the influence. An OWI is similar to a DUI-driving under the influence-or a DWI-driving while intoxicated.  

BAC: Blood Alcohol Content. A BAC is the percentage of alcohol in a person's blood stream at the time their blood was taken. Police try to determine the level (percentage) of alcohol in the alleged drunken driver's blood. If the percentage is in excess of the legal limit, police will arrest the suspect; they can also arrest a person for having a BAC under the legal limit, such as if the person's driving is impaired. 

PAC: Prohibited Alcohol Concentration. Wisconsin's laws include prohibited alcohol content levels. If a driver's test indicates that they have an alcohol limit in excess of 0.08, a companion citation to the OWI will be issued, the PAC.

Refusal: When a driver refuses to submit to a test of their blood, breath, or urine, they are cited for a refusal. In the State of Wisconsin this is an automatic 12-month driver license suspension if the driver is found guilty of refusing to submit to a test. There is a 10-day filing limit on this type of case to prevent an automatic driver's license suspension. Call Chirafisi & Verhoff right away to see how we can assist you in this type of case.  

Administrative Review Hearings

What is an administrative review hearing?

An administrative review hearing is conducted by a person who works at the DOT. It is a hearing for the DOT to determine whether or not they will suspend your driver's license for driving above the legal limit of 0.08. If you receive a PAC or BAC ticket you should also receive a (usually yellow) form which is the Request for an Administrative Review Hearing. It will say "IMPORTANT NOTICE - RESPOND WITHIN TEN (10) DAYS" at the top.  

Should I request an administrative review hearing?

Yes, Chirafisi & Verhoff, S.C. always requests an administrative review hearing for our clients. We will receive the police reports from the DOT because the arresting officer is required to submit them to the DOT. Requesting an administrative review and winning the hearing is the only way to save your license from being automatically suspended by the DOT. Even if you do not win your administrative review, the hearing is important to conduct.

Call Chirafisi & Verhoff, S.C. to find out why.

What is the deadline for making a request for an administrative review hearing?

There is a ten day filing limit to request this hearing. Call Chirafisi & Verhoff, S.C. right away to hear how we can assist you in this hearing.  

(608) 250-3500 or email us at attorney@cvlawoffice.com

The OWI Defense Process

What should I do if I have a Notice of Intent to Suspend or Revoke?

If you have been arrested for an Operating While Intoxicated offense, there are certain procedures which we will follow that can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. If you have a blood or breath sample result and it is at or above an 0.08, you will receive a document called the Notice of Intent to Suspend. You must respond to that document by demanding a hearing within 10 days or you will have your driving privileges suspended for 6 months, beginning 30 days after the date of the notice. Demanding the hearing is necessary. The real benefit of that hearing is what we get out of it.  

The hearing is, without question, the most important thing that can be done as your case begins. The hearing, when done properly, can provide great information to assist us in fighting your case. Most lawyers don’t take the time to actually question the officer who made the arrest in the case. That is a mistake. Your attorney has an opportunity to question the eye witness to your case about the facts of your case - why wouldn’t you do that? Once the administrative paperwork is sent in, it will allow you to receive your police reports, many times before court, and it will give you a much better idea of the evidence against you. Most of the results that we achieve, which involve having the OWI charges dismissed or amended, come from the information we get from the administrative review hearing.  

If you refused to submit to a breath or blood test, you should have received a document called a Notice of Intent to Revoke. That is also a time-sensitive document. If paperwork is not filed within 10 days, your driving privileges will be revoked for 12 to 36 months and you will be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicles. Demanding the refusal hearing not only allows for your license to remain valid as your case progresses, it also gives you an opportunity to have a hearing on the alleged refusal in an effort to beat your case. If you fail to demand the refusal hearing within the 10-day time period, your case is over and you will be convicted of some type of alcohol-related driving offense. It is critical that the refusal hearing is demanded, as it is the only way to preserve your refusal rights.  

Once the administrative paperwork is completed, it becomes the attorney’s job and responsibility to meet the specific goals the client has for the outcome of their case. We understand that every case cannot end with a dismissal or amendment from a drunk driving charge. It is our responsibility to make every effort, however, to come as close to the client’s specific goals for the outcome of the case as possible. In many instances, the attorney can handle the initial appearance without the client having to be present. One of our goals is to have your case provide as little of a disruption as possible to your life.  

After the initial appearance, your case will then move to the phase where you and your attorney spend time discussing the options, including motions to suppress and other possible defenses to the charges. The reality of these cases is that you, the client, are the boss and you control the manner and form which your case is handled. We provide guidance and advice as to the course of action we believe should be taken; but we also believe that it is critical to never put our feelings about a case ahead of those of our client. In many instances, we are able to find a weakness for the Government in our client’s case. We are able to file motions to suppress evidence which, if granted, can change the course of the case. While we believe test results are important (most people spend all their time focused on those results,) we believe there is far more to a case. We focus on a client’s driving behavior, their interaction with the police, the conversations they have had with the law enforcement officer, as well as the test results.