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Possibly longer jail sentences for drunk driving in Wisconsin

In the past this blog has addressed issues of sentencing and penalties for drunk driving charges. In the last year, the state has considered many changes that could impact how a person convicted of an alcohol related charge is punished. Recent action by the Wisconsin State Senate is moving some of those considerations forward.

Now only requiring the approval of the governor, two new laws appear to be on the horizon. The first would require anyone who causes an injury accident due to drunk driving to spend at least 30 days in jail. Presently a judge can at his discretion sentence a person to between 30 days and one year in jail for such a conviction but the new law would make the minimum sentence mandatory.

The second potential law would require people convicted of their sixth through eighth alcohol-related offenses to spend three years in jail. These new penalties could have serious implications for people with previous DUI offenses and convictions on their records.

Having to spend time in jail for an alcohol-related offense poses potential consequences not only for the person convicted of the drunk driving crime but also for the person's family and friends. While the convicted individual may lose a job, the ability to pay obligations and other freedoms and rights, the person's family will struggle in the absence of a person who may have been responsible for financial and emotional support.

Drunk driving convictions hurt people and their families at a very difficult time in their lives. Though no one can ever guarantee an outcome, some individuals facing drunk driving charges have benefitted from an aggressive criminal defense.

Source: WTAQ, "Wisconsin Senate passes bill requiring jail time for injury-related OWI crashes," Mar. 18, 2014

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