Can You Get Out of an OWI in Wisconsin? 3 Ways to Get Your OWI Dismissed

By Carlos Gamino

If you’ve been arrested for operating while intoxicated, or OWI, you’ve probably wondered if there’s any way you can get out of it. In some cases, yes, it is possible to get an OWI dismissed. Here’s what you need to know.

Can You Get Out of an OWI in Wisconsin? 3 Ways to Get Your OWI Dismissed

First things first: There is no way to predict how a judge will rule. Any attorney who tells you he or she will “for sure” get your OWI dismissed isn’t being entirely honest with you. Sure, there are many circumstances in which it’s possible to have an OWI dismissed – but ultimately, it’s up to the legal system to make that decision, not your lawyer.

There are some ways that attorneys are able to get OWI cases dismissed in Wisconsin, however, including:

  • Challenging the results of a breath test
  • Proving that police stopped you illegally
  • Showing that the police did not have probable cause to administer a breath test

This isn’t a complete list. Your attorney will review your case and make a determination about the best possible defense based on your situation. However, here’s a closer look at the ways attorneys can sometimes get OWI cases dismissed.

Related: Will you go to jail for OWI, second offense in Wisconsin?

OWI Dismissal Situation #1: Challenging the Results of a Breath Test

Judges can dismiss an OWI case when an attorney can prove that the breath test was inaccurate. There’s a lot of science on why breath tests can come up wrong, whether they’re administered the wrong way, whether you are on a medication or have a medical condition that could affect the test results, or whether the device was improperly calibrated or inaccurate by nature.

OWI Dismissal Situation #2: Proving That Police Stopped You Illegally

The police must have a valid reason for stopping you while you’re driving. A law enforcement officer can stop you if you:

  • Violate a traffic law
  • Have an equipment violation (like a burned-out turn signal)
  • Are driving erratically

They can also stop you if your vehicle fits the description of a vehicle involved in a crime, or if you roll up to a traffic checkpoint.

If the police stop you illegally, your attorney may be able to get your case thrown out of court.

OWI Dismissal Situation #3: Showing That the Police Did Not Have Probable Cause to Administer a Breath Test

Police can’t just stop you for having a broken taillight or speeding and require you to take a breath test. Law enforcement officers must reasonably believe that you are intoxicated before requesting that you take a breath-alcohol test.

If the police stop you and you deny that you’ve been drinking, and you refuse to take a field sobriety test, the officer really doesn’t have anything to prove that you’re drunk (other than the way you were driving or the way you’re acting during your interaction. He or she might request that you take a breath test, and that may be completely valid – especially if the officer smells alcohol on your breath or watched you stumble out of a bar and into your car.

Pro tip: If you refuse to take a breath test, you do so at your own risk. You could lose your license for at least a year.

Do You Need a Lawyer to Get Out of an OWI in Wisconsin?

For most people, the best way to approach an OWI – and any other criminal case, for that matter – is to work with an experienced attorney. Attorneys are in and out of court every day, and they know what works according to the law (and what doesn’t).

If you’ve been arrested for OWI, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 now to talk to a caring, knowledgeable and experienced professional who can point you in the right direction.

Carlos Gamino