New OWI Law Proposed in Wisconsin

STATELINE (WIFR) – If you’re heading up north this weekend, you’ll want to be extra cautious while on the road. Wisconsin has some of the most lax drunk driving laws in the nation, but maybe not for long.

Out of the hundreds of drunk driving arrests in Rock County, 49-year-old Richard Fox makes up for eight of them. That means police say he got behind the wheel eight times while drunk. He’s a repeat offender, lumped into a category with people who have been taken into custody multiple times for drinking and driving.

“We’ve seen a decrease in first time offenders, the rest come back to us,” said Captain Jude Maurer with the Rock County Sheriff's Department.

It’s a crime some Wisconsin lawmakers want to crack down on. The general assembly is expected to vote on a new law next week that would require judges to impose a three year prison sentence on drunk drivers who hit the road more than seven times.

Jail time would increase to four years for those who break the law more than ten times. Right now, there isn’t a hard and fast rule for judges. The Sheriff’s Department says a Wisconsin driver is arrested four times before taken to jail. Here in Illinois, it takes one arrest.

Those arrests depend on a number of things. For instance if you have a minor in the car, it’s a stiffer penalty. The new Wisconsin Law would also require judges to enforce a mandatory 30-day jail sentence on anyone who injures someone while driving with a Blood Alcohol content between .04 and .08 percent.

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