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Wisconsin culture and the problem of drunk driving

While people in other parts of the country may judge Wisconsin for its harsh winter weather and disconnect from the coasts, residents of this state know just how great it is to live here. Filled with beautiful scenery and warm-hearted people, Wisconsin is a great place to live for people of any demographic.

One part of living in Wisconsin that seems as ubiquitous as Packers' jerseys is drinking. Wisconsin residents enjoy alcoholic beverages and spending time together with their families and friends. All of those get-togethers can unfortunately lead to some individuals getting behind the wheel when they really should not.

State residents, legislators and special interest groups have long battled over how to manage drunk driving within the borders of Wisconsin. While some legislators have attempted to criminalize DUI first offenses, others have adamantly stopped such bills from becoming law in favor of less stringent penalties. At this time Wisconsin is the only state that does not bring criminal charges against a first time drunk driver.

It is a difficult problem to manage. While some opponents to imposing stricter criminal penalties on alcohol-related driving offenses cite the additional costs the state will have to incur, others simply want residents to take greater responsibility for their actions. Advocacy and current laws have been successful in reducing the number of alcohol-related driving deaths in recent years.

As Wisconsin lawmakers and interest groups continue the dialogue on how to reconcile the state's drinking culture with safe driving, residents may find themselves in the middle of the tumultuous realm of defending alcohol-related driving offenses. Anyone with questions about state drunk driving laws can speak with a DUI attorney about his case and possible options.

Source:, "Battle lines drawn over criminalization of first OWI offense," Jim Owczarski, Feb. 24, 2014

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