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Wisconsin OWI Implied Consent Law - What BAC Tests Do You Have to Take?

implied consent law

When you are pulled over in Wisconsin and the police officer suspects that you may be intoxicated, there are several tests he may ask you to perform. There is a lot of confusion surrounding each of these tests and whether or not you need to perform each one. This article will clear up all the confusion surrounding these OWI tests.

Types of Drunk Driving Tests

An officer may ask you to take any of the following tests to determine your intoxication level:

  • Field Sobriety Tests, such as the one legged stand.
  • Preliminary Breath Test (PBT). This test is administered on the side of the road.
  • A breath, blood, or urine test to determine your BAC level. These tests are done at a police station of other facility.

Field Sobriety Tests and PBTs are solely used to gather enough evidence to arrest you for OWI. Neither of these tests are required by law, meaning you do not have to take any of them. You can refuse the tests, and the officer can either let you go (if he has no other reason to believe you've been drinking), or arrest you on suspicion of OWI.

Breath, Blood, or Urine Test

If you are arrested for drunk driving you are legally obligated to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test. Violation of the implied consent statute, and can subject you to license revocation amongst other penalties. This is known as the "implied consent" law. The arresting officer will request that you either provide a blood or breath sample (they could request a urine sample--but it's rare in Wisconsin). If you provide the requested sample, you have the right to have an alternate sample taken at your request (and expense). While you do have the right to speak to an attorney upon being arrested, you do not have the right to speak with an attorney before deciding whether or not to provide a blood or breath sample.  There is no harm in asking, but the arresting officer is not likely to allow you to call an attorney and speak with them prior to doing a blood/breath test.  That said, you should contact an attorney immediately after giving your BAC test to discuss your legal options.

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