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Wisconsin legislature moves toward steep DUI penalties

Most Wisconsin residents go about their daily lives without much thought given to the many state laws that affect their rights. Since most are able to function without causing local law enforcement to take an interest in them, being aware of every state law is generally not necessary for them to live responsible lives.

For Wisconsin residents who have been convicted of multiple DUI charges, however, a new bill has passed with approval through the State Assembly that will likely impact the penalties those individuals will face if arrested again.

As previously discussed on this blog, state legislators have been considering a new law that would require individuals charged with their sixth, seventh and eighth DUIs to spend 3 years in jail and those convicted of their tenth, eleventh and twelfth DUIs to spend 4 years in jail. The State Assembly approved the bill on May 14, 2013, meaning the bill has cleared one legislative hurdle on its way to becoming a law.

As made apparent by the serious jail sentences associated with multiple DUI convictions, Wisconsin lawmakers are taking a hard line against people who drink and drive. Individuals who are facing their fifth or more DUI charges may soon find themselves in jail when before judges were able to use their discretion when imposing sentences.

As state DUI and drunken driving laws change, so too will DUI defense strategies have to change in order to address the potentially serious penalties proposed in this bill. Though the State Senate must still pass the bill in order for it to become a law, individuals who have had DUI convictions in the past should be aware that subsequent convictions may likely result in heavier jail sentences and fines.

Source: Wisconsin Public Radio, "Assembly Increases Penalty For Repeat Drunk Driving," Shawn Johnson, May 15, 2013

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