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Law seeks harsher penalties related to ignition interlock devices

The penalties for drinking and driving in Wisconsin can be pretty severe, even for first time offenders. An individual may be confronted with jail time that takes them away from their jobs and their families, large fines that threaten their financial well-being and license suspension or license revocation that can damage their ability to get to work, school and perform the tasks of one's day-to-day life. Another penalty that can make life difficult is the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, which prevents a motorist from starting his or her vehicle without first passing a breathalyzer test.

Though these penalties can hamper an individual's life, Wisconsin lawmakers are trying to push the matter further by changing the ignition interlock device laws. According to some lawmakers, the law, as it is now, is too lenient by tying the device to a vehicle instead of to an individual. They claim that this allows individuals to simply take their name off the car's title and replacing it with a relative. This, some lawmakers state, allow a convicted drunk driver to bypass the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device.

So what do they want to happen? Proposed legislation would tie ignition interlock devices to an individual's driver's license and enhance penalties for trying to evade the device. Right now, trying to evade the device could lead to a traffic ticket, but the proposed legislation would make such an act punishable by a fine of up to $1,200 and possibly even jail.

This legislation is not yet law, but it does show the direction some lawmakers are trying to move. With an aggressive stance being taken to crack down on drunk driving, those facing DUI charges or other drunk driving-related allegations should carefully consider their legal options and pursue a legal defense that works for them.

Source:, "Ignition interlock legislation in Wisconsin," Kris Schuller, Oct. 3, 2016

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