Following last year’s enactment of a new law making a fourth drunk-driving offense a felony (and imposing harsher penalties for subsequent drunk driving charges), this year, Wisconsin lawmakers are seeking to impose even harsher penalties for certain drunk driving-related crimes. Three new bills were introduced in February by Representative Jim Ott and Senator Alberta Darling, both of whom serve constituencies in the Milwaukee area. These bills could have significant consequences for individuals convicted of various “operating while intoxicated” (OWI) offenses in Wisconsin.
According to Representative Ott, “The bills are part of an ongoing effort to make penalties for impaired driving more in line with the seriousness of the crime.”
Pending Changes to Wisconsin’s OWI Laws in 2017
The bills – LRB 1474, LRB 1384, and LRB 1368 – each target specific aspects of Wisconsin’s current drunk driving legislation. The primary effects of the bills would be as follows:
- LRB 1474 – If passed, LRB 1474 would impose a mandatory minimum prison sentence of five years for anyone convicted of homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle.
- LRB 1368 – If passed, LRB 1368 would make it a separate offense to drive someone else’s vehicle without an ignition interlock device (IID) if you are required to have IIDs in your vehicles as a result of an OWI conviction. Under current law, you cannot be ticketed for driving a third-party vehicle without an IID.
- LRB 1384 – If passed, LRB 1384 would further increase the minimum incarceration period for fifth and sixth OWI offenses. Last years’ Act 371 increased the minimum sentence to six months. The new law would impose an 18-month minimum sentence.
While similar legislative efforts have failed in the past, according to Fox6Now.com, Representative Ott is more optimistic this time around due to last year’s passage of Act 371. The bills are also reportedly being supported by the Tavern League and Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD).
You can read the full text of the bills here:
Facing OWI Charges in Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, facing operating while intoxicated (OWI) or prohibited alcohol concentration (PAC) charges is an extremely serious matter. As in other states, the penalties for drunk driving increase significantly with each subsequent offense, and all drunk driving convictions can have drastic consequences for your insurance rates, college enrollment, and employment eligibility. The good news is that there are several potential defenses available. To minimize the consequences of your OWI or PAC arrest, it is critical that you seek legal representation as soon as possible.
Learn more about Wisconsin’s drunk driving (OWI and PAC) laws:
- Can You Be Charged with DUI if Your BAC is Under 0.08 Percent?
- Consequences of Refusing a Breath Test in Wisconsin
- Do You Need an Attorney for Your First DUI?
Disclaimer: This Article Is Not Legal Advice.
Never rely on an article for legal advice as the law frequently changes, information may not be accurate, there may be exceptions to a rule, and reliance may be detrimental. Always consult one of our experienced attorneys for competent, current, and accurate legal advice.
Schedule an OWI/PAC Defense Consultation at Crooks, Low & Connell, S.C.
Are you facing OWI or PAC charges in North Central Wisconsin? If so, we encourage you to contact us for a confidential consultation. To speak with an experienced defense lawyer about your case, call us at (715) 842-2291 or request an appointment online today.