Criminal OWI with Minor Passenger Dismissed
Our client, an Illinois resident, traveled to Wisconsin with family to visit some waterparks. On the trip home, she was stopped for weaving on the highway. The trooper asked the client she had consumed any alcohol, and our client admitted to having one drink earlier at the water park. The trooper also reported that she looked “tired.” The trooper asked our client to get out of the car to perform field sobriety tests. She performed poorly and submitted to a preliminary breath test (PBT) with a reported result of 0.13. Based on this information, the trooper arrested our client and asked her to submit to a blood test, which she refused to do. Although it was her first time being arrested for OWI, usually a non-criminal citation in Wisconsin, our client was charged with a criminal offense because she had two children in the vehicle. She also received a citation for refusing to submit to the blood test and for deviating from her lane. Attorney Verhoff filed a suppression motion, arguing that the trooper did not have sufficient grounds to ask the client to submit to field sobriety tests. Although the client admitted to drinking, she did not have other, typical signs of impairment such as slurred speech, a thick tongue, red and glassy eyes, a flushed face or problems responding to questions. But a hearing on the motion was never held. After discussing the facts and the motion with Attorney Verhoff, the prosecutor agreed to a unique settlement. The prosecutor agreed that if Attorney Verhoff withdrew his motion, he would dismiss the criminal charge of OWI with a minor passenger and lane deviation. In exchange, the prosecutor wanted the client to plead to the refusal, which carries no jail or fines as a penalty. The client accepted this offer. While she was found to have refused the test, she avoided a criminal conviction, significant fines and lengthy jail sentence.