Under the proposal, thousands of repeat offenders would be in jail or prison instead of behind the wheel. The legislation promotes prevention and includes statewide expansion of the successful Winnebago County “Safe Streets” pilot program, which directs some offenders into alcohol treatment programs. The proposal also expands the use of Ignition Interlock Devices (IID), one of the tools that government has to prevent drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel.
“There is broad agreement on the importance of revisiting our laws on drinking and driving. This bill takes a comprehensive approach to meet our shared goal of making Wisconsin roadways safer and provides a good means to enact needed changes,” said Lehman.
The proposed legislation would:
- Make the third OWI offense within five years a felony
- Make all fourth OWI offenses a felony
- Close the 1st offense .08 fine loophole
- Expand Winnebago County’s successful “Safe Street” pilot program
- Require the Judicial Council to develop statewide sentencing guidelines for OWI offenses
- Mandate Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs) or immobilization if second OWI offense is .16 or
- above and for all third offenses
- Prohibit IID contractors from cancelling an IID contract without an order from the court and provides penalties.
Last session, Sen. Sullivan passed legislation that provided incremental penalties for drunk drivers. This package further strengthens the tools and options available to Wisconsin’s law enforcement and court systems, the release said.
Maybe I'm missing something here, but what about that first OWI conviction? And the second OWI conviction? And the third OWI conviction regardless of the time frame? There's still too damn much coddling of drunk drivers, as the recent Milwaukee Journal Sentinel series graphically showed.