Milwaukee Summerfest Overview and Special Warnings to Illinois Drivers
The Milwaukee Summerfest is one of the best known and largest musical festivals in the world. It runs almost ten days long over two weekends, culminating with spectacular Third and Fourth of July Festivities. This festival draws attendees from around the world, but the focus of this blog will be on the Illinois attendees at Summerfest. Depending on where an Illinois driver is coming from they will inevitably be on the highways of Wisconsin heading to and from Summerfest. Law enforcement is on heightened alert not only in the Milwaukee area, but in other towns such as Racine and Kenosha and Lake Geneva as well. It is not uncommon for an Illinois driver to get a speeding ticket or worse a OWI in Wisconsin or DUI as they are known in Illinois based on allegations of drunk or intoxicated driving. The purpose of this blog is to outline what to do and what not to do if you are arrested or ticketed on the way to Summerfest or on the way home.
Getting Pulled Over in Wisconsin on the way to Summerfest or on the way home
You are headed to or on the way home after a trip to Milwaukee or another Wisconsin city on I-94 and near Racine or Kenosha or Lake Geneva and you suddenly see lights from a squad car behind you, now what? The best course of action is to pull over as soon as possible and as far over into the shoulder as possible for the safety of the approaching officer. This will demonstrate you are quickly responding to the officer's authority. Next, sit and wait for the officer to come to you with your hands at the top of the steering wheel and do not get out of you car as that action will put an officer on the defensive. When approached remain polite and do not argue with the officer about the speed if he tells you how fast you were going. Often the officer may exercise discretion and write you a ticket for lower than the speed you were traveling if it is a borderline call. This may in turn make it easier to have a chance at reducing the ticket to an alternative violation that will not affect your Illinois Driver's License or Insurance rates. Do not pay the ticket when you get home regardless of what the officer tells you. I have had many Illinois clients tell me a well intentioned Wisconsin police officer advised them a speeding ticket was a minor offense and that if paid would not affect their Illinois Driver's License. While most speeding tickets in Kenosha or Racine, Wisconsin are considered minor non-criminal forfeitures for Wisconsin drivers the impact and consequences are much greater for and Illinois Driver who gets a speeding ticket in Kenosha or Racine. It is not the Wisconsin police officer's job to advise you on the legal consequences of a speeding ticket in a neighboring state, that is my job as an attorney licensed to practice law in both Illinois and Wisconsin.
What Are the Consequences of a Wisconsin Speeding Ticket for an Illinois Driver?
Unlike Illinois, the Wisconsin legal system does not recognize the concept of court supervision, thus every citation concludes with a conviction, dismissal or finding of not guilty after a trial. Various speeding ticket violations can result in point assessments between zero to six points depending on the severity of the offense. The three categories of speeding offenses are as follows: Speeding (1-10 mph over the limit) three points, Speeding Intermediate (11-19 mph over the limit) four points, and Speeding Excess (20 miles or more over the limit) six points. An Illinois driver must be concerned with a speeding ticket conviction being entered against them and a report of that conviction making its way to the Illinois Secretary of State and their Insurance company. The Illinois driver who has a Wisconsin ticket should not focus on the points scheme but rather attempt to obtain a category of violation that is not reported to the Illinois Secretary of State, which our office will seek to secure on your behalf. These amended violations will not affect the Illinois driver's license and will not result in inflation of a driver's insurance premiums. A failure to secure a non-reportable charge in Wisconsin will often result in an Illinois driver having a conviction for a moving violation on their record for a speeding offense that would have been a court supervision had it occurred in Illinois.
What Can a Criminal Defense Attorney do for an Illinois Driver With a Speeding Ticket in Wisconsin?
What do I do if I am charged or arrested for Drunk Driving or OWI in Wisconsin on the way to or from Summerfest?
As I already mentioned in the summertime and especially around Summerfest time the Wisconsin Police encounter Illinois licensed drivers in the course of an traffic stop or accident and if alcohol is involved an Illinois driver can end up facing an OWI charge. First and foremost, do not automatically pay the ticket or your Illinois license may be revoked indefinitely. The laws of Illinois and Wisconsin could not be more different when it comes to drunk driving and if you are charged with an OWI you need a criminal defense attorney who knows not only Wisconsin OWI laws but more importantly the laws of Illinois and how the Illinois Secretary of State views an OWI conviction from Wisconsin or any other state. I take great pride in providing my Illinois clients with comprehensive representation on a Wisconsin OWI case and my representation does not end at the border. I evaluate the evidence in each case and propose the best strategy for the OWI case in Wisconsin and also the Secretary of State penalties in Illinois that often occur and surprise Illinois drivers. As an Illinois and Wisconsin OWI and DUI Defense Attorney I have been featured in the May 2013 “Docket” Publication, a Lake County Illinois Bar Journal. For a more thorough discussion and explanation of Wisconsin OWI penalties for Illinois Drivers please read my article on Illinois Drivers and Wisconsin OWI offenses here on pages 18-19: http://www.lakebar.org/images/stories/pdfs/docket/vol_2003_may_2013.pdf
Why do I Need a OWI or DUI Defense Attorney Licensed in Both Illinois and Wisconsin?
If you are an Illinois driver with an OWI case in Wisconsin you will face many important decisions in handling that case. The most important decision is finding the OWI or DUI defense attorney best qualified to represent Illinois drivers who get an OWI or DUI in Wisconsin. There are certainly mainly highly skilled DUI and OWI lawyers in both Illinois and Wisconsin representing clients in their respective states, but if they are not licensed in BOTH states they may not feel the need to be as familiar with the laws of states outside their own jurisdiction. While handling some OWI cases in Wisconsin can be viewed as a quick and easy process when compared to DUI cases in Illinois the results for the Illinois driver can be devastating once the Illinois Secretary of State learns if there was a Wisconsin conviction. I provide a full outline to Illinois drivers with OWI cases in Wisconsin as to what they are facing in both Wisconsin and Illinois. The best course of action for a Wisconsin resident with an OWI is usually not the best course of action for a Illinois Driver with a Wisconsin OWI. As OWI and DUI cases can be very expensive due to not only attorneys fees, but also court costs and increased insurance premiums it makes financial sense to have one attorney licensed in both states versus two attorneys in both Illinois and Wisconsin for an OWI case. If you are an Illinois driver with an OWI case in Wisconsin please contact the Richard Albanese Law Office today for a free consultation and case evaluation to learn what consequences you may be facing in Illinois and Wisconsin and what your individual options may be. You can reach the Richard Albanese law office at (312) 882-1973, by email at [email protected], or on the web at http://www.criminalandtrafficdefenseattorney.com.