Wisconsin Lawmakers Propose Stronger Drunk Driving Penalties

A DUI conviction in Wisconsin comes with serious penalties. If a person is faced with drunk driving charges, he or she should never just give up and let prosecutors have their way. It's important to fight DUI charges to ensure the protection of the defendant's freedom, future and wallet.

Readers in the Sheboygan area may remember that in 2009 Wisconsin passed legislation to strengthen penalties for DUI convictions, including making a first offense into a crime if there is a passenger in the car under the age of 16. Now, one state lawmaker has introduced six bills that would make the potential consequences of DUI convictions even more robust. Representative Jim Ott hopes the legislation will provide a deterrent against driving while intoxicated.

His plans include criminalizing a first offense if the driver has a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 percent or higher. Another bill would make a felony of a third offense. The lawmaker put forward similar legislation last term, but the proposal wasn't acted upon.

Representative Josh Zepnick opposes the proposed changes, saying that they focus on punishment rather than deterrence. His own plan, also passed in 2009, required repeat offenders and certain first-time offenders to have ignition locks fitted to their cars. However, his attempt to ban certain drink specials at bars was never voted on. He hopes to introduce legislation this session on sobriety checkpoints and to require specific license plates for those convicted on DUI charges.

Because of the serious consequences of a conviction, it is important to question whether any mistakes were made during field sobriety or breath tests. Errors in these tests can lead to false positives. With so much on the line, Wisconsin residents alleged to have committed DUI offenses should secure a good defense.

Source: wuwm.com, "Lawmakers Again Propose Tougher Drunken Driving Legislation," Marti Mikkelson, Feb. 25, 2013