The Wisconsin Assembly recently approved three new bills which target drunk driving laws, and depending on the approval of the Senate, there could be some major policy changes. For example, all second-offense drunk drivers will be charged with a misdemeanor, could face five days in jail and a fine of $350. Drunk driving laws are important to protect the public from dangers on the road, but harsher punishments can be detrimental to those accused of these crimes.

A fourth drunk driving offense would be a felony – regardless of how much time has elapsed between charges. This means that someone who made mistakes in their youth could possibly be facing a felony charge decades later. For those who have been convicted twice or more, ignition interlock devices would be required. In order for the vehicle to start, the driver would have to provide a breath sample into the system. Recently, the accuracy of breath tests has been up for debate in other states, with concerns about how the alcohol content of the breath might compare with that of the blood.

Consistency is key in the law. Policy and procedure rules what the law enforcement agencies do and what the criminal justice system does. It is important to have standard laws and practices, but these new laws could have many unintended consequences to those accused of drunk driving. It is unclear how these new policies would be enacted and what the effects would be for those with drunk driving convictions that predate the new laws.

For those accused of drunk driving, it is important to protect your rights. Speaking to an experienced legal professional can help to present options to you that might prevent more serious and long-lasting consequences and charges.

The Dunn County News, “Do more to fight Wisconsin’s drunken driving scourge” No Author Given, Dec. 03, 2013