UPDATE: Wis. Committee Considers Drunken Driving Sentences

UPDATED Thursday, May 2, 2013 --- 11:32 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Republican legislator is trying convince his colleagues to support a bill that would ensure repeat drunken drivers spend time behind bars.

Rep. Jim Ott's proposal would clarify judges must impose a minimum three-year prison sentence on seven-, eight- and nine-time drunken drivers and a minimum four-year prison sentence on 10-time offenders and beyond. Judges also would have to impose a minimum 30-day jail sentence on anyone who causes an injury while driving with a blood alcohol content between 0.04 percent and 0.08 percent.

Ott told the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Thursday he drafted the bill after a state appeals court ruled last month Wisconsin law doesn't require minimum sentences beyond the sixth offense.

The Wisconsin Counties Association argued the bill likely will drive up jail costs.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Monday, February 11, 2013 --- 1:11 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Two Republican legislators are trying to drum up support for bills that would toughen Wisconsin's drunken driving laws.

Rep. Jim Ott and Sen. Alberta Darling sent out memos to their fellow legislators on Monday asking for co-sponsors by Feb. 21.

The proposals would make first-time offenders with blood alcohol levels of 0.15 percent or higher guilty of a misdemeanor; require first-time offenders to appear in court even if they face a civil violation; make a third offense a felony; and allow police to seize third-time offenders' cars.

Drunken drivers who injure someone would face new mandatory minimum sentences ranging from six months in jail to three years in prison depending on the injuries' severity. Drivers who kill someone would face a new mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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Posted Monday, December 31, 2012 --- 9:58 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Two Republican legislators say they'll try again this session to overhaul Wisconsin's drunken driving laws.

Rep. Jim Ott of Mequon and Sen. Alberta Darling of River Hills say they plan to introduce bills that would criminalize first-time offenses for drivers with high blood alcohol percentages; require first-time offenders to appear in court; make a third conviction a felony; establish mandatory minimum sentences for drunken drivers that cause injuries or death; and require police to seize drunken drivers' cars beginning with a third-time offense.

The package closely mirrors bills Ott and Darling pushed during the last session. None of those proposals got a vote after fiscal estimates showed they would have cost the state tens of millions of dollars.

Ott says those estimates were unrealistic.

Copyright 2012: Associated Press


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