According to a 2009 study by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Wisconsin leads the nation in drunk driving incidents. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation, reported that there were more than 44,000 drunk driving convictions in Wisconsin just last year.
2009 Wisconsin Act 100 , which took effect on July 1, 2010, is the Wisconsin Legislature’s latest attempt to eliminate drunk driving in Wisconsin. The new law targets repeat offenders, and provides for more opportunities for treatment of alcohol abuse.
The new law also includes the following provisions:
- Ignition Interlocks will be required for all repeat offenders and first time offenders who have had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of over 0.15. These devices make it impossible for cars to start if a person has any alcohol in their breath content.
- 4th time repeat offenses will now be treated as felonies if they are within 5 years of the previous offense.
- The new law allows judges to offer less jail time to offenders who choose and succeed in alcohol rehabilitation, thereby making treatment of alcoholism more accessible to Wisconsin’s long term drunk driving issues.
- 1st Offense DUIs will now be categorized as misdemeanors if a child under 16 years of age is present in the vehicle.
- Increased criminal charges and license reinstatement charges.
For more information on the problem of drunk driving in Wisconsin, check out the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s special report called Wasted in Wisconsin. For additional information on the new OWI law, visit the State Bar’s Wisconsin Lawyer article by Andrew Mishlove & Lauren Stuckert.