Drunk Driving & OWI Defense

Experienced Madison Drunk Driving Defense Attorney

Learn More About OWI Charges in Wisconsin:

Nationally-recognized Wisconsin OWI Defense Attorney Pat Stangl has been defending clients charged with drunk driving and other criminal charges since 1991.

Whether you're facing a first offense OWI or repeat drunk driving charges, make sure you contact an experienced and competent OWI lawyer with a strong record of success.

If you've been arrested for OWI, DUI, DWI, BAC, PAC or other criminal charges in Wisconsin, Stangl Law can help.

Understanding Wisconsin's Drunk Driving Charges

OWI is an acronym for “Operating [a Motor Vehicle] While Under the Influence of an Intoxicant” and is the official term used in Wisconsin for the more general term, “drunk driving” offense. The terms OWI, DUI, DWI, BAC, and PAC are synonymous and also apply to the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of a “controlled substance” or "intoxicant."

Attorney Stangl has a proven record of success defending Wisconsin OWI cases, including those with enhancements, as well as all types of criminal cases in both State and Federal Courts.

Receiving an Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) charge can be an intimidating, stressful experience with serious consequences. Both first-time offenders and repeat offenders face mandatory fines and penalties if convicted, and put their employment prospects, housing, and personal credit in jeopardy. Additionally, there are a host of related offenses that may also be implicated if you are charged with an OWI in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin's OWI Laws and Penalties

Under Wisconsin law, you may be considered to be operating while under the influence of an intoxicant if you are driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more, or are impaired as a result of ingesting controlled substances. However, even if you have a BAC that is under 0.08 percent, you may still be considered to be under the influence if your driving is observed by police to be affected by drugs or alcohol.

Wisconsin law prescribes penalties for OWI offenses which include, but are not limited to:

First offense: Significant monetary fines and surcharges and driver's license revocation for up to 9 months. 

Second offense: Possible jail time, significant monetary fines and surcharges, and mandatory driver’s license revocation for at least 9 months.

Third and subsequent offenses: Mandatory jail time, excessive fines and surcharges, and driver's license revocation for two or more years.

Click HERE to see penalties for Fourth Offense OWI and other repeat OWI offenses.

Implied Consent in Wisconsin

Wisconsin's implied consent statute requires drivers arrested for OWI to provide a breath, blood, or urine sample. If you refuse and the State satisfies its burden of proof, you face mandatory penalties. Law enforcement are required to inform you of all the penalties that you face regarding a refusal. If they fail to do so or do so improperly, you may have defenses to the refusal charge.

Attorney Pat Stangl's Approach to OWI Defense

Attorney Stangl’s philosophy regarding OWI defense is that, unless the State offers a plea agreement significantly better than the risk of losing in trial, there is no reason to plead guilty. Because Attorney Stangl believes that—unlike many other charges in State Court—victims of drunk driving [OWI, DUI, DWI, BAC, PAC] charges have little incentive to plead guilty, he prepares all drunk driving cases for trial.

This approach differs greatly from the vast majority of criminal defense attorneys who assume they cannot win your case and plead guilty. If you’re facing criminal or traffic charges in Wisconsin, schedule a free consultation with us from the Contact Us page right away.

Receiving an OWI, DUI, DWI, PAC, BAC DWI/DUI charge is a serious matter. Attorney Stangl uses a wide range of strategies to defend your OWI case, including: reviewing the case for defects, moving for the suppression of evidence, compelling discovery of such things as calibration and maintenance records for the breath machine, having blood samples independently analyzed, negotiating for a lesser charge or reduced sentence, obtaining expert witnesses for trial, contesting the administrative license suspension, winning trials and refusal hearings, and much more.

Attorney Stangl is a Trained Field Sobriety Test Expert

Attorney Stangl has undergone the same NHTSA-sponsored field sobriety test training as law enforcement—something very few OWI attorneys can legitimately claim. This training gives Attorney Stangl unique insight into how these tests are designed, where their weaknesses lie, and where law enforcement often makes mistakes when administering them. Attorney Stangl regularly leverages this expertise to uncover opportunities for defense for his clients and work toward successful outcomes.

Helping Clients Move Past Drunk Driving Charges

In addition to his winning record, awards, and other honors, Attorney Stangl takes great satisfaction in providing his clients with one-on-one attention to build a thorough defense as they fight to overcome challenges brought on by drunk driving charges and move on with their lives.

If you need a Madison OWI lawyer who is committed to fighting for you, Attorney Stangl is happy to offer a free 10-minute consultation to discuss your case and explore options for your defense.

Four Consecutive Jury Victories

For the fourth time in a row, a jury has refused to convict Attorney Stangl's client of Operating While Under the Influence of an Intoxicant (OWI). A St. Croix county jury sitting in Hudson, Wisconsin has found Attorney Stangl's client not guilty of OWI. His client was also charged with Operating With a Prohibited Alcohol Concentration (PAC).

The above the legal limit or Operating with a Prohibited Alcohol Concentration charge (PAC) was dismissed by the trial court after the conclusion of the State's evidence on Attorney Stangl's motion.

The court agreed there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction on the PAC charge, because the State failed to produce expert testimony establishing the relevance of the blood test result given the fact it had not proven the time of the alleged operating/driving of his client's vehicle.

The State's blood test evidence indicated the client's blood alcohol concentration was 3.5 times the legal limit. The jury was then left to decide the criminal OWI charge. After deliberating approximately an hour and 15 minutes, the jury returned a unanimous not guilty verdict.

This case represents the fourth time in a row that Attorney Stangl's clients were cleared of both OWI and PAC charges—a total of 8 charges in four consecutive jury trials.

"I was facing felony OWI and above the legal limit charges (4th) offense. I was going to lose my job and face a year in prison. I contacted many attorneys before I talked with Pat. I knew after talking with him he was my only chance to save me from losing everything and sitting in prison. Pat was able to use his OWI experience, knowledge, and very strong negotiation skills to have my charges reduced and my felony dropped. Thanks to Pat, I only sat 9 days in jail with Huber privileges and was able to keep my job. I highly recommend him to anyone facing serious legal problems. He is worth every penny, and I cannot thank him enough."

- J.H.

"Charged with a first OWI offense and refusal after allegedly avoiding police by speeding and swerving into a cemetery, I turned to Attorney Stangl, known for his prowess in drunk driving defense. Confident in his skills, I hired him for his legal acumen and tenacity. Stangl warned of the difficulty in contesting an Implied Consent Violation but pledged to leverage his experience to defend me vigorously. His dedication paid off, with the prosecutor dropping both the OWI and refusal charges. For anyone facing similar legal challenges, I highly recommend Pat Stangl, not only for his expertise but also for his proven track record, including a previous OWI case of mine he successfully defended. He's truly an outstanding attorney."

- S.A.

"I found myself in a position nobody would want to be in. I was facing OWI and driving above the legal limit charges as a sixth (6th) offense and looking at a sure prison sentence. The prosecutor wanted me to go to prison. I literally had everything on the line, including my family, my job, and my home. If I went to prison, I would lose it all. I knew that if there was anyone that could help me it was Attorney Pat Stangl. As you can imagine, it was a very, very stressful time in my life. I trusted Pat and his staff completely, and he was able to get the sixth offense reduced. Pat saved me from a prison sentence and from losing everything I had worked so hard for all my life. I learned a lot of valuable lessons from this terrible experience, and one of them was to forget the rest and just hire the BEST! Thank you, Pat, you gave me my life and future back.”

- Shawn J.

"After a serious OWI incident post a music festival in northern Wisconsin, I sought Pat Stangl's legal expertise. Despite a breath test showing a .18 concentration, discrepancies existed between the arresting officer's account and reality, including claims of me stumbling which were disproved by an independent witness. Stangl contested the vehicle stop, highlighting the officer's impossible observation point due to a hill. His adept handling during the motion hearing, coupled with credible witness testimony, led to the State reconsidering its position before the judge's verdict. Ultimately, I avoided OWI and PAC convictions, owing to Stangl's skillful defense and commitment to justice."

- Lance

"Facing a 5th offense OWI felony with potential prison time, I was overwhelmed and feared losing everything. Discovering Attorney Patrick Stangl and Stangl Law Offices, known for their success in criminal and drunk driving defenses, was a turning point. Hiring Stangl was a pivotal decision. Despite the complexities of my case, Stangl and his team dedicatedly worked to challenge my prior convictions, arguing I wasn't properly informed of my rights. Remarkably, my charge was reduced from a felony to a first offense OWI, a civil violation. I am profoundly grateful to Stangl for preventing a prison sentence and recommend him highly for anyone in legal trouble, underscoring his recognition as a top trial lawyer in Wisconsin."

- Robert Tomfohrde

"I hold a commercial license, and driving truck is my job. I was charged with a serious drunk driving offense, and I knew if I were convicted, I would lose my job. Given the evidence against me, I didn’t think I had much of a chance. Luckily I hired Attorney Patrick Stangl of Stangl Law Offices, S.C. I was immediately impressed with his people skills and knowledge of the law. He told me that I had a hard case, but he would do everything to help me. He sure did. I wasn’t convicted of either the OWI or PAC charges. My alleged concentration was .158. To anyone who is a trucker or has a commercial driver’s license and finds themselves between a rock and a hard place, I would hire Pat Stangl in a heartbeat. He is worth every penny."

- M.P.

Drunk Driving Charge Success Story Spotlight

OWIImpressive OWI Acquittal Rate

During the past decade, Attorney Stangl has achieved many jury acquittals for clients charged in OWI-PAC offenses, what is commonly called “drunk driving” cases.  In fact, as of the date of this post, since 2010, Attorney Stangl has racked up an acquittal rate of 75% on OWI-PAC cases tried to verdict.  Put another way, he has received NOT GUILTY VERDICTS in 75% of the cases in which he tried to a jury and resulted in a verdict.  

Recently, Attorney Stangl successfully defended his 255th drunk driving case, meaning that for the 255th time, his client was not convicted of an OWI-related offense.  Put another way, they were NOT FOUND GUILTY of either operating while under the influence (OWI), operating with a prohibited alcohol concentration (PAC), or found to have unreasonably refused to submit to a chemical test.  While technically referred to as an Implied Consent Violation, this civil citation is commonly known as a “refusal” and counts as the equivalent of an OWI or PAC conviction for purposes of greater penalties in the event of a future conviction.  For example, a person has an OWI 1st conviction in 2011 and a refusal in 2013; in 2019, they are charged with another OWI-PAC, and it now becomes a third (3rd) offense.    

If you’ve been charged with a crime in Wisconsin, contact Stangl Law Offices for a free 10-minute consultation to explore options for your defense.