Can You Be Convicted for OWI Without a Breathalyzer?

Being pulled over by law enforcement for suspected drunk or otherwise impaired driving is no less than a harrowing experience. Whether this is your first time or you have been in this position before, you likely have many questions and wonder what will happen next.

Will you be convicted? What will the consequences be? An experienced Madison OWI lawyer can answer your questions and address your concerns. They can also help you through this challenging process and fight for the best outcome possible.

What if You Didn’t Take a Breathalyzer Test?

In some circumstances, a suspected OWI driver will not take a breathalyzer test. They might have refused it, despite Wisconsin’s Implied Consent Law, or perhaps one wasn’t available or working during the traffic stop. Not having breathalyzer results available doesn’t mean that you won’t face charges or be convicted. Your OWI charge doesn’t wholly rely on the results of a breathalyzer test.

A breathalyzer test is only one tool law enforcement officers have at their disposal to determine if you were impaired while operating a vehicle. The results of a breathalyzer test aren’t required to charge or convict an individual of an OWI in this state. Other evidence can be submitted to the court in its place, such as:

  • The results of your field sobriety test
  • The results of a blood test
  • Officer testimony about your driving or other behavior

As such, you can potentially be convicted of an OWI in Wisconsin without taking a breathalyzer. The good news is that your Madison OWI attorney will examine the facts and evidence in the case to determine the best means of defending these serious charges.

Possible OWI Defenses

Whether there are breathalyzer results available in your case or not, you need a Madison OWI lawyer who is well-versed in the defenses available in your case. Common drunk driving offenses include:

  • Improper Stop: Law enforcement officers must have probable cause to stop you. If they lacked probable cause to pull you over in the first place, your OWI charges could be thrown out.
  • Accuracy of Field Sobriety Test: The court may determine that your arrest was improper because of an improperly administered field sobriety test or inaccurate test results. For instance, the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test is one portion of a field sobriety test that OWI defense attorneys frequently challenge.
  • Chain of Custody of Blood Test: Was your BAC blood test administered correctly? Was it tampered with or mishandled in the chain of custody?
  • Improper Police Actions: Perhaps the police violated the defendant’s civil rights in some way, the OWI report was false, or the officer otherwise acted improperly—if law enforcement officers fail to take the actions they should or do things they shouldn’t, it can be used to help the defendant

Call Today to Speak with a Madison Criminal Defense Lawyer

OWI charges are complicated and require the legal expertise of a defense attorney who knows how to defend each client best, no matter their circumstances. We do all we can to fight for a reduced penalty for your OWI charges or even have your charges dismissed. Call Christopher T. Van Wagner S.C. today at 608-284-1200 or use our confidential online contact form to schedule a case review with a seasoned Madison OWI attorney.

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