3 Proposed Bills Would Increase Penalties for Drunk Driving in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin legislature is considering three bills that would increase penalties for people convicted of drunk driving.

A quick breakdown of the proposed legislation:

  • One bill would establish a five-year minimum prison sentence for individuals convicted of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle. Currently, there is no minimum sentence for this offense.
  • The second bill would raise the minimum prison sentence for fifth and sixth OWI convictions from six months to 18 months.
  • And the third bill would prohibit all drivers convicted of OWI from driving any vehicle — not just their own — without an ignition interlock device.

Lawmakers in favor of the increased penalties are more confident that the legislation will be passed this year because the Tavern League of Wisconsin has said it supports the bills.

The Tavern League has long lobbied against increased penalties for OWI, but the association now says it supports the bills, particularly because they target repeat offenders and fatal accidents.

As efforts to penalize drunk drivers appear to be gaining more traction, anyone arrested for OWI will need a strong legal defense.

No one arrested for drunk driving is automatically convicted. You have a right to defend against the charge. If you have been arrested for OWI, here are some important questions to ask:

  • Did the police officer have a right to stop your vehicle?
  • Did the officer properly administer any standardized field sobriety tests?
  • Did the officer have probable cause to arrest you?

Not everyone arrested for OWI is guilty, and police officers do make mistakes. Don’t let an error in police procedure or a violation of your rights lead to a conviction. Speak with an OWI defense lawyer as soon as possible.