Wisconsin residents may think that current state laws take a strong stance against drunk driving, but others may disagree. Currently, a conviction can lead to serious penalties and consequences for repeat offenders. However, lawmakers have recently proposed a bill that could change existing DUI penalties, leading to even stricter penalties, particularly for those facing their first DUI. A proposed bill has been reintroduced that would make a first-time offense a crime, as well as increase penalties for those convicted for a second or subsequent time.
Currently, Wisconsin laws do not treat first-time DUI offenses as criminal offenses. It is the only state to treat an initial DUI as a civil violation, which means that jail time is not a potential penalty. Lawmakers believe that the laws on drunk driving are not strict enough, leading to the high number of drunk driving cases in the state. Efforts in the past to ramp up the severity of DUI laws have not been successful.
This time, however, lawmakers committed to making laws on drunk driving tougher have support from the newly elected governor. Recently, a firefighter was killed by a drunk motorist while he was offering assistance to someone on the side of the road. As a result, emotions about drunk driving are high and the issue is currently getting a lot of attention.
Whether or not the proposed changes pass, those facing DUI charges would be wise to take their situation seriously. Drunk driving penalties can result in consequences that can affect multiple areas of a person's life, and it is beneficial to present a strong defense strategy. Whether it is a person's first offense or he or she is a repeat offender, it is worthwhile to confront the charges and protect future interests.