What Happens During an OWI Arrest?


Getting arrested is not something that anyone would consider a great experience. However, being arrested for OWI is worse. The main issue that being arrested for OWI is that the court process is lengthy and the penalties are severe. So, what exactly happens when you are arrested for OWI?

The arrest

When someone is stopped by the police for suspicion of OWI, the first thing that happens is that the officer will question you in an attempt to gain information about your condition. He or she is looking to see if the answers you provide make sense. But, they are also looking for subtle clues about your current condition. For example, are you slurring your words? Are you able to control your body movements? What is your affect like? They are also looking to see if they can smell the odor or alcohol on your person.

In the event that they determine you might be impaired, they will then initiate a field sobriety test. You may be asked to perform a number of simple tasks that are gauged to further determine your level of impairment. The officer will ask you to perform balance tests, orientation tests and cognitive tests. Based on your performance, you may be asked to submit to a blood alcohol test or a breathalyzer. If you refuse to participation in the field sobriety test, you will also be asked to submit to a blood or breath test. Your participation in these are not optional.

You may also be asked to submit to the blood or alcohol test even if you perform adequately in the field sobriety portion of the stop. This is because some people are not impaired as significantly as others and these tests are the definitive tests for alcohol consumption.

It is important to note here that you do not have to exceed the legal limits for blood alcohol concentration in order to be charged with an OWI. This is a common misconception that many people hold. However, if the officer determines that you are impaired, you can be charged, regardless of what your BAC may be.

After your arrest, you will be booked into the local jail to await your court date. That is, unless you are able to bond out. In most cases, you will be booked into custody until you can demonstrate that you are no longer impaired by the alcohol you have consumed. If you do bond out, you will be required to appear in court to answer to the charges brought against you. It is imperative that you have retained legal counsel at this time to ensure adequate representation. This is because while most charges of OWI are misdemeanor crimes, the penalties can be severe. Having legal counsel defending you will help you minimize the impact that the penalties will have on your life.

You should expect that your Arrest Records will become public and known thanks to a number of websites out there that publish such information.
Arrest Records unforunately don’t remain private.
Marchelle Lamaster

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