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Wisconsin’s new drunken driving penalties begin January 1st

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MADISON— Repeat drunken drivers will face tougher penalties in Wisconsin starting with the new year.

Gov. Scott Walker signed a law in April that makes a fourth drunken driving offense a felony regardless of when it’s committed. Currently a fourth offense is a felony only if committed within five years of a third offense.

The law also increases the maximum sentence for fifth and sixth offenses from three years to five. Maximum sentences for seventh, eighth and ninth offenses will increase from five years to seven and a half. The maximum sentence for a 10th or subsequent offense will move from seven and a half years to a decade behind bars.

The measure goes into effect Jan. 1.

Wisconsin remains the only the state that doesn’t criminalize a first offense, however.

6 comments

    • Wisconsin the slap-on-the-wrist state

      Agreed, still a slap on the wrist! A drunk driver can easily enough kill a family or cause serious accidents on their very first drunk driving offence, and to not even criminalize a 1st offence is so very sad. No wonder people keep driving drunk, just another slap on the wrist, they don’t care. Take away their freaking cars since they continue to drive even after they lose their license!

      • Shallowhal

        I absolutely agree with your statement. Wisconsin lawmakers have failed to keep the public safe in so many ways its just ridiculous. I have never lived in a state that is so lenient on crime as Wisconsin is. Juveniles who commit violent crimes and felonies are placed on supervision, 4 OWI until its a felony (we are the only state that OWI isnt a crime but a violation), felons in possession of a firearm charges are usually dismissed, carjackings are considered property crimes??? I mean common. At the rate we are going Milwaukee will soon be on the same level as Detroit and we can thank our lawmakers for that.

    • JG

      The judge takes into consideration if anyone was hurt , level of intoxication , impairment
      Why was the driver arrested , etc etc . It’s not a parking ticket ! The drivers record , any criminal offenses etc etc !
      They have to go to alcohol assessment , and do whatever is decided by the assesssment & the
      Court ! Counseling and/or classes etc etc !
      It’s not just a ticket !!!
      It’s also very expensive !
      Inability to drive for a
      Prolonged time & must
      Have SR 23 Insurance &
      Pay fines & reinstatement fees !

  • JP

    So why can’t we do this for gun crimes? Oh that’s right… we just drop the charges before it even gets to sentencing.

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