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New bills would toughen penalties for drunk driving charges

The Wisconsin Assembly is always considering potential laws to improve the lives of individuals living within the state's borders. It also considers possible legislation that can modify the penalties that Wisconsin residents incur when they break state laws.

The Assembly is now considering three possible state laws related to drunk driving charges. Each of the bills is designed to make the consequences against drunk drivers more severe and each relates to a different type of drunk driving offense.

The first bill would make a person's third and fourth drunk driving convictions felonies. While these offenses are currently misdemeanors under state law, conviction of felony DUI carries with it more serious penalties and higher potential consequences than charges assessed at the misdemeanor level.

The second bill would require that anyone who hurts another person in a drunk driving accident spend six months in jail. Currently, state law requires that such individuals spend 30 days in jail and the proposal of this bill suggests that Wisconsin lawmakers want to increase the penalties that people facing drunk driving charges experience post-conviction. The final proposed bill would require any person who kills another person in a drunk driving incident to be penalized with a 10 year jail sentence.

Though none of the mentioned bills have become Wisconsin law, the Assembly's Judiciary Committee has taken them up for review and the bills may be considered by the full Assembly later this year. Should these bills pass the Assembly and clear other legislative hurdles on their way to becoming enforceable laws, all Wisconsin residents should be aware that they could face considerably more serious consequences if they are arrested on and convicted of drunk driving charges.

Source: Today's TMJ4, "3 drunken driving bills up for hearing," August 1, 2013

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