Drunk driving in Wisconsin is a serious offense, causes car accidents, and the laws are always changing to crack down harder.
As of July 1, 2010, Wisconsin Act 100 began to reinforce Wisconsin’s drunk driving laws in the following ways:
- Felony charge:
The fourth OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) offense by a single driver within five years of the third offense will amount to a felony charge.
Repeat offenders and first-time offenders whose breath sample registers at or above a 0.15 blood alcohol level will be required to use an ignition interlock device (IID). An IID will also be ordered for anyone refusing a breath test. This device will be wired to the ignition of the offender’s vehicle and will require a breath sample before starting the engine. If any trace of alcohol is detected by the IID, the engine will not start. The IID will require breath samples intermittenly while driving. Tampering with or failing to install an IID will result in an extra six months of its required use.
- Treatment for drunk drivers:
The Department of Corrections is required to provide probation, supervision, treatment and other community treatment options for second- and third-time Operating While Intoxicated offenders.
- Increased punishment for first-time offenders:
If a child younger than 16-years old is a passenger in the vehicle, the driver will be charged with a misdemeanor rather than a first-time OWI offense. This involves paying a $365 Driver Improvement Surcharge, suspension of driver’s license pending compliance with a Driver Safety Plan, and a permanent record by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
- License revocation and reinstatement:
The period of license suspension begins on the date of conviction and is added to by the number of days the driver is sentenced to jail. The driver’s license reinstatement fee is increased from $60 to $100.
Drunk driving is a serious hazard on the roads.
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