Can an officer change the charge he gives you?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can an officer change the charge he gives you?

I currently have an occupational license,
regular license was revoked for 9 months for an
OWI. I was pulled over after the officer ran my
plates and I had been driving to work a half
hour prior to my established time. I will be
adjusting my occupational schedule soon. The
officer gave me a 200 ticket for a license
restriction violation and told me if I go to
court, have the schedule changed, it might be
reduced. A week later I received a letter with
a change in court date along with a new ticket
for operating while revoked by the same officer
which has me very worried as I understand how
serious that offense can be. I’ve complied with
everything else including an IID in my car
and completing the driver’s safety plan related
to the OWI. Any advice is much appreciated.

Asked on September 19, 2018 under General Practice, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they can do this. Charges may be changed by the authorities (e.g. prosecutor or officer) pre-trial. You see this all the time in the news, in regards to more serious charges (such as for corrupt politicians, gang members, organized crime figures, etc.)--charges are added, dropped, upgraded, downgraded, changed, etc. The same principal applies here: the authorities are not bound to what they first charged you with.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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