Thanksgiving is coming up later this week. From a criminal defense perspective, this is noteworthy for at least two reasons. The first reason is that the Wisconsin State Patrol and local law enforcement agencies will likely be increasing OWI enforcement this week. Many holidays are associated with increases in drunk driving, and law enforcement agencies increase patrols accordingly.
If you were sitting in your vehicle and a police officer approached and clearly intended to talk to you, would you drive away? Most of us would automatically respond “no way.” Even if you aren’t doing anything illegal, the act of driving away seems suspicious and could potentially get you into trouble.
In our last post, we wrote that Memorial Day weekend is traditionally a period of increased enforcement for police in Wisconsin. In response to high rates of drunk driving, police are out in full force looking to make traffic stops and arrests for operating while intoxicated.
If you work a regular fulltime job, you probably need no reminder that Memorial Day weekend is almost here. The three-day weekend is considered by many to be the start of summer and a chance to party, relax and maybe spend some time outdoors.
Although most law enforcement officers tend to be honest and well-intentioned, the sad reality is that some abuse their power and take undue advantage of the credibility that comes with their badge. This appears to be what happened in the case of a young Wisconsin woman whose car was struck by a Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Deputy.
Even if you’ve never had a run-in with law enforcement, you nonetheless have a vested interest in making sure that the criminal justice system is fair and unbiased. We all do, because any of us could find ourselves facing criminal charges someday. One example is a Wisconsin man facing drunk driving charges in Racine County. What makes this operating-while-intoxicated case particularly noteworthy is the fact that the defendant happens to be the district attorney.
As you may be aware, it is unfortunately far too easy to unintentionally drive drunk. Because alcohol metabolizes differently depending on a variety of factors, you may feel quite alert and sober even when your blood-alcohol content reads above the legal limit of 0.08 percent.
Every year, the group Mothers Against Drunk Driving puts out a report that rates each state on how well it addresses drunk driving. Specifically, states are rated on five criteria MADD considers to be critical to reducing drunk driving. These include things like whether states have sobriety checkpoints, “no refusal” events and child endangerment laws that increase penalties for driving drunk with a child in the car.
Wisconsin has been criticized for having among the most lenient laws and sentencing guidelines in the nation for those convicted of operating while intoxicated or driving under the influence. While Wisconsin’s laws may be comparatively weaker, they are nonetheless significant and highly punitive.
Because Thanksgiving fell on a particularly late day in November this year, it is hard to believe how quickly Christmas is coming. Most Wisconsinites are busy shopping for presents, picking up family at the airport, buying decorations and attending Christmas parties.