State ups some penal­ties for drunken driv­ing Jan. 1

The Washington Times Daily - - AMERICAN SCENE -

MADI­SON | Re­peat drunken driv­ers will face more time be­hind bars in Wis­con­sin start­ing New Year’s Day un­der a law the state Leg­is­la­ture passed over­whelm­ingly nearly a year ago.

The new law doesn’t make the first of­fense a crim­i­nal vi­o­la­tion, leav­ing Wis­con­sin as the only state that treats a first of­fense as a civil vi­o­la­tion.

Ad­vo­cates for sober driv­ing say law­mak­ers need to go fur­ther in the up­com­ing ses­sion, start­ing by ex­pand­ing ig­ni­tion in­ter­lock use.

The new law makes a fourth drunken driv­ing of­fense a felony pun­ish­able by up to six years in prison re­gard­less of when it’s com­mit­ted. Right now, a fourth of­fense is a felony only if it’s com­mit­ted within five years of a third of­fense.

The law also in­creases the max­i­mum sen­tence for fifth and sixth of­fenses from three years to five. Max­i­mum sen­tences for sev­enth, eighth and ninth of­fenses will in­crease from five years to seven years and six months. The max­i­mum sen­tence for a 10th or sub­se­quent of­fense will in­crease from seven years and six months to a decade in prison.

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