Jingle All the Way, But Do Not Get in Your Sleigh

December 15, 2022

It’s that time of year again. Family get-togethers, holiday parties, social gatherings, and of course, holiday cheer.  Wisconsin is one of many states that participate in the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaigns sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, which signifies more high-visibility OWI task forces being operational from the middle of December to the beginning of January.  This means the possibility of being stopped for an OWI increases substantially during this period.  It does not mean you cannot enjoy eggnog or a brandy slush; you just need to be aware that if you get stopped and are over the legal limit, you will not be getting a ride home to warm chestnuts by an open fire.  You may end up with a lump of coal, in the form of a citation for Operating While Intoxicated.

If you are stopped, the following is a non-exhaustive list of what to do to make sure that the stop concludes in a smooth and uneventful way.

  • Stay calm.
  • Be respectful, and get your license, registration, and proof of insurance ready.
  • When the officer approaches your vehicle, remember anything you say can be used against you.
  • While you are not required to submit to Standardized Field Sobriety Tests in Wisconsin, if you refuse, do so in a respectful manner.
  • Be aware that if you do refuse, you will be arrested on the spot for suspicion of Operating While Intoxicated.
  • Comply when you are being arrested. If you do not, you could face the possibility of more or different charges, based on your conduct.
  • Hire an experienced criminal defense attorney as quickly as you are able.

There are short timelines for certain parts of this process, and you do not want to miss those deadlines because once they have passed, you cannot renew them even once you have counsel.

Enjoy the holidays but do not have too many Tom and Jerry’s and get in your sleigh.  If you do, never fear! Erika Bierma is here to help when you have too much of the holiday cheer.