Stakes Higher for Those Accused of Drunk Driving in Wisconsin

Many people in Wisconsin are accused of driving under the influence of alcohol each year. Unfortunately, some people may be accused as a result of a faulty equipment or with little support of claims. Starting in 2017, those accused of drunk driving will face stiffer penalties.

Under the new law, a first offense remains a civil violation in Wisconsin. However, the penalties for repeat offenders will increase. Under current law, a person facing a fourth offense is accused of a felony and could spend six years in prisons regardless of when the last DUI conviction occurred. Under current law, the penalties are only this severe if the conviction occurred within the last five years.

Penalties for convictions for fifth and subsequent convictions will also increase when the law goes into effect. Despite these changes, advocates for sober driving continue to urge lawmakers to enact stricter measures. These advocates are pushing for the introduction of bills that would expand the use of the ignition interlock system, for example. Others, however, worry about the costs of implementing new laws, including the costs of building drug abuse centers.

The stakes are high for those in Wisconsin who are accused of drunk driving. In some cases, allegations of driving under the influence stem from assumptions made by police officers and may only be supported by equipment that is faulty or improperly maintained. Because of the changes in law, those facing such accusations may benefit from an attorney who can help them either fight in court or negotiate for lesser charges.

Source: CBS Minnesota, "Wisconsin Increasing Some Drunk Driving Penalties On Jan. 1", Dec. 27, 2016