• Dan Skarie

OWI 2nd Offense Milwaukee County Circuit Court Not Guilty At Trial

This case was all about keeping our cards close to the chest. The defense wasn't that the client wasn't impaired or that the client didn't have a prohibited alcohol concentration, but rather that the client consumed alcohol after operating her motor vehicle. In order to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt the client must prove that the defendant was impaired "at the time the defendant operated" the motor vehicle. Operation is defined as "the physical manipulation or activation of any of the controls of a motor vehicle necessary to put it in motion."

Prior to trial, we did not reveal to the District Attorney's office that a mason jar of alcohol was located in the client's car (the police never looked). Client, stressed out from running a new business, drank in a parking lot after having a panic attack. After falling asleep in her car for a few hours, a concerned citizen reported her to the police. The police arrived, woke the client, and arrested her for second offense drunk driving.

At trial, in opening, the defense explained the circumstances surrounding the client's drinking. The jury was told that if they followed the law and considered the facts presented to them, the only explanation was that the client consumed alcohol after operating her motor vehicle. There was no evidence that after consuming the alcohol the client operated the vehicle in any fashion.

After approximately an hour of deliberation and asking to watch the arresting officer's body cam video a second time the jury returned a verdict of not guilty to both counts. Very happy client and a just outcome.


The materials available at this web site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice regarding any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between Vanden Heuvel & Dineen, S.C. and the user or browser. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.