You might not know it, but Wisconsin is the only state in the nation where the drunk driving penalty for first time offenders is a ticket rather than jail time. Now, if Representative Jim Ott, a Republican from Mequon, has his way, first time offenders would be forced to appear in court.
Ott says that he intends to introduce seven bills designed to increase the punishment for those who are convicted of drunk driving offenses. The representative said that he felt the need to take action after he heard about drunken drivers who had been arrested over and over again.
Among the changes addressed in the bills that Ott intends to introduce are an increase in the minimum sentence for drivers who kill or injure another person in an accident, elimination of the present rule that reduces the penalty for offenses that have occurred more than 10 years apart, closing a loophole that allows offenders who have a suspended license to drive without an ignition interlock device and an increase in the minimum prison sentences for those who are fifth and sixth time offenders.
Although Ott doesn’t believe the drunk driving problem is going to be solved with the addition of some new laws, he does hope that they can create a deterrence to drunk drivers choosing to get behind the wheel. According to the Department of Transportation, Wisconsin statistics show that in 2013 there were 185 deaths related to drunk driving with some 2,660 injuries on roads in Wisconsin.
Individuals who have lost a loved one or received in serious accident related to drunk driving may be entitled to compensation and could find it beneficial to learn more about their legal rights as they pertain to their case.
Source: CBS Minnesota, “Wisconsin Lawmaker Targeting Drunken Driving Again,” April. 26, 2015