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Wisconsin lawmakers propose lifetime driving ban for fifth DUI

The potential consequences of a DUI arrest in Wisconsin are serious. Although a DUI first offense is not a criminal offense, a conviction can result in license suspension and hefty fines. A blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 or above, or a conviction of DUI with a minor passenger can result in mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. Second and subsequent offenses can result in a jail sentence and an ignition interlock device.

Although these penalties are severe, they are not as severe as those in most nearby states. That may be about to change. Two state lawmakers are now proposing a bill that would permanently revoke the driver's licenses of drivers convicted of a fifth DUI.

The bill is co-authored by Representatives Eric Genrich of Green Bay and Andre Jacque of De Pere. While the lawmakers are still working on the language of the bill, they say it will be similar to one that became law in New York. The New York law provides that drivers with three or more drunk driving convictions within 25 years, or five or more over a lifetime, will lose their licenses permanently. Genrich says he plans to include a provision that would allow drivers with lifetime revocations to apply for reinstatement of their licenses after ten years, provided they complete a treatment program and remain law-abiding.

If the proposed bill becomes law, those arrested on drunk driving charges in Wisconsin will have even greater need for an experienced DUI defense lawyer. The prosecution will still be required to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and the defendant will still have the right to an attorney and the right to confront their accusers in court.

Source:, "Five OWI strikes and you're out?" Shereen Siewert, Jan. 23, 2015

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