Monthly Archives: December 2015

Practice Responsible Drinking and Safe Driving this Holiday Season

The holidays are here, and for many, that means celebrating with family, friends, and copious amounts of alcohol.

Alcohol inhibits a driver’s ability to perceive his or her environment and stay within his or her lane, making the driver a danger not only to others on the road, but to him- or herself. Because of the celebrations that occur from November through early January, law enforcement in Wisconsin heightens their presence on state and local roads to catch drunk drivers and prevent tragedies. Wisconsin has the highest rate of drunk driving in the United States, with more than a quarter of adults admitting to driving despite knowing they were legally intoxicated.

If you have been charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI), contact an experienced Neenah OWI lawyer to discuss your legal options.

Penalties for OWI in Wisconsin

Any individual who is found to be driving while his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08% or higher may be charged with OWI. In Wisconsin, the penalties for this charge are as follows:

1st Offense

  • $150 to $300 in fines; and
  • Six to nine months driver’s license suspension.

2nd Offense

  • Five days to six months in jail;
  • $300 to $1,100 in fines;
  • 12 to 18 month driver’s license suspension; and
  • Ignition interlock device.

3rd Offense

  • 30 days to one year in jail;
  • Ignition interlock device;
  • $600 to $2,000 in fines; and
  • Two to three years in jail.

Avoid an OWI or a Tragedy

The best way to prevent an OWI charge and protect yourself and others is to choose not to drink and drive. Instead, drive to and from parties with a designated sober driver or volunteer to be the sober driver yourself. If you are hosting a holiday party, offer your guests the option to stay overnight if they become too intoxicated to drive home. Do not allow a drunk guest to drive away from your party.

Other options for safe travel during the holiday season include public transportation and rideshare services like Uber or Lyft.

Wisconsin DUI Attorney

If you have been charged with OWI in Wisconsin, work with an experienced Appleton DWI attorney. It might be possible for you to have your penalties reduced or your charge dismissed entirely. Contact our team at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC today to schedule your free legal consultation with us.

10 Winter Driving Tips for Wisconsin Roads

Winter driving in Wisconsin can be treacherous. Our cold temperatures and close proximity to both Lake Winnebago and Lake Michigan means plenty of snow, slush, and freezing rain, all conditions that can cause problems for even experienced drivers. Winter car accidents cause serious and potentially life-threatening injuries, and result in heavy medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

According to statistics from the Oneida County Public Health Department, Wisconsin has averaged over 50,000 car accidents over the last five winters. These accidents prove fatal for roughly 55 drivers each year, and another 6,000 suffer serious injuries. Many of these accidents are caused by driving too fast for conditions, and each year with the arrival of rain, snow, ice, and slush, Wisconsin drivers often need to relearn their winter driving skills.

Winter Driving Tips To Avoid Accidents

To protect yourself and your loved ones from being involved in a winter driving accident, follow these 10 winter driving tips from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT):

  1. Before driving, be sure and remove all snow and ice from your car windshields and windows.
  2. Be aware of road conditions before heading out. Get the latest weather conditions by dialing 511 or by visiting the DOT’s winter road conditions webpage.
  3. Pay attention while driving, and avoid distractions such as talking on cellphones and texting.
  4. Slow down or move to the side if you see emergency vehicles, snow plows, or maintenance vehicles approaching. Give snowplows at least 200 feet of room with which to navigate.
  5. Be sure to slow down and brake early when coming to a stop, and do not pump anti-lock brakes.
  6. Beware of slippery bridge decks, which freeze before the actual roads or pavement.
  7. Avoid using cruise control in icy, wet, or snowy conditions. Tapping the brake to release cruise control may cause your car to skid.
  8. Go extra slow, and look farther ahead in traffic than you usually do. Be aware of potential traffic slowdowns and stops, as well as places where you may have to yield, and prepare for these things in advance.
  9. Remember that trucks carry more weight than cars, and will require longer times to slow down or stop. Avoiding pulling out in front of trucks, as well as slamming on your brakes or switching lanes suddenly when a truck is behind you on the road.
  10. Be cautious even when driving a 4×4 vehicle. While your vehicle may help you go faster and have better traction on snow or ice covered roads, the extra weight of these vehicles makes brake times slower. Even in your 4×4, you could be just as likely to lose traction and skid as any other driver.

Contact Our Experienced Green Bay Personal Injury Lawyers Today

If you or a loved one is injured in a driving accident this winter, contact Hammett, Bellin, & Oswald, LLC immediately. Our experienced Appleton car accident lawyers provide aggressive legal representation to assist you in getting compensation for your injuries. Or, if you are facing DUI charges, our Wisconsin DUI attorneys can help you with your defense. With offices in Neenah and Appleton, we assist clients throughout the Fox Cities and Northeastern Wisconsin. Call or contact us online today for a free review of your case.