A driver in Wisconsin was arrested for operating under the influence (OUI) twice in the span of three hours. The situation highlights the importance of letting alcohol dissipate after being arrested, and shows how other people can be pulled into the criminal justice system in an OUI case.
Two OUI Arrests in Three Hours
The incident happened in Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin. At 4:20 am on June 4, 2017, 18-year-old Preston Bierhals caused a car accident when he lost control of his vehicle and slammed into a light pole. He was on his way back from a high school graduation party. When police came to the scene, Bierhals said he was trying to make a phone call on his cell phone when he lost control. However, the police thought that he was under the influence and gave him field sobriety tests, which he failed.
A subsequent test for blood alcohol content (BAC) found that Bierhals' was at 0.157%. This was above the legal limit of 0.08% for adults, though Bierhals was only 18, so his legal limit was 0.00%.
After processing Bierhals for a first-offense OUI, police released him when an adult came to the station and signed a Responsibility Agreement for Bierhals. One aspect of the Agreement was that the adult signing it promised not to let Bierhals drive a vehicle for the next twelve hours.
At 7am, though, a police officer who was familiar with Bierhals' first OUI arrest saw him driving another car. The officer pulled him over, conducted another field sobriety test, and arrested Bierhals when he failed it. A BAC test found that Bierhals was still over the legal limit, at 0.121%.
Alcohol Takes Time to Pass Through Your System
This incident highlights how important it is to remember that alcohol takes time to pass through your system and that you can still be over the legal limit hours after being arrested. Chemically, alcohol metabolizes, or “burns off,” at a rate of 0.015% per hour. This means that, while Bierhals did not have another drink after his first OUI arrest, he would've needed 10.5 hours to sober up enough to drive legally.
Other Charges Could Follow
Another aspect of Bierhals' two arrests for OUI is the other criminal charges that could follow.
The person who signed the Responsibility Agreement that let Bierhals out of jail after his first arrest could face criminal charges for obstruction of justice for taking responsibility for his actions, and then letting him off, unsupervised. Additionally, this aspect of the case could result in Bierhals being charged with bail jumping, as well.
Other charges might also be filed against the person running the graduation party that Bierhals came from. In Wisconsin, social hosts can, in some cases, be prosecuted for giving alcohol to minors.
Maine OUI-Defense Attorney William T. Bly
While this incident happened in Wisconsin, the lessons learned from it can easily be applied in Maine. Being released on bail or on personal recognizance is common after an OUI arrest in Maine. Finding a lift home or giving yourself enough time to burn off the alcohol in your system and sober up after your release could prevent a second OUI arrest.