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Proposed law could lead to lengthy license revocation periods

At present, many Wisconsin drivers who have had their licenses revoked due to drunk driving convictions can apply for provisional or occupational licenses. These licenses allow individuals to drive to and from work or to and from locations that are stipulated at the time the licenses are issued. Provisional licenses can be a good compromise for individuals who have lost driving privileges to maintain their jobs and responsibilities as they earn back their rights to have full drivers licenses.

However, a recently proposed state bill would prevent some people who have been convicted of drunk driving from quickly acquiring provisional licenses. Under the proposed legislation, a fifth drunk driving incident would revoke a driver's license for an entire decade. During that ten year period the individual would not be able to acquire a provisional or occupational license, thus presenting a significant barrier to an individual with out of the home responsibilities.

Currently, some individuals who apply for provisional licenses are able to get them in a matter of months. Despite their license revocation punishments, such individuals are allowed to live their lives and contribute to their communities with limited and controlled driving access. The proposed law discussed in this post could possibly prevent these and other productive actions.

Before this proposed law becomes part of the state's statutory code, it will have to overcome many hurdles in the Wisconsin legislature. However, it currently has bipartisan support and it has captured the interest of state law makers on both sides of the political divide. If it becomes law, it may impose significant hardships on Wisconsin drivers who need access to vehicles in order to live their lives.

Source: The Badger Herald, "'Five strikes and you're out': Legislators crack down on drunk driving," Emily Hamer, Sept. 22, 2015

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