Wisconsin May Become a Five Strikes State
Representative Eric Genrich (D) from Green Bay and Representative Andre Jacque (R) from De Pere are working on a bill that will permanently revoke the driving privileges of chronic drunk drivers. Similar to what was introduced in New York, the new law is expected to create a lifetime driving ban for individuals with five or more OWIs.
However, in an effort to encourage drunk drivers to seek help, the bill will also include language that will allow for a driver with a lifetime ban to have his or her privileges reinstated in specific circumstances. At the moment, this most likely means privileges will be reinstated after 10 years if the driver stays out of trouble and completes treatment programs. Another possible provision will be to require first-time OWI drivers to appear in front of court.
Unfortunately, the Wisconsin legislature has repeatedly failed to pass stricter OWI laws. Despite overwhelming public support, most of these measures have failed in the state Senate where there is disagreement over whether stricter penalties will solve the problem.
Drunk Driving in Wisconsin
The Gannett Wisconsin Medical Investigative Team highlighted Wisconsin's chronic drunk driving problem in the fall in an investigative report that was presented to state lawmakers. The investigative series pointed out that Wisconsin ranks as one of the highest states for chronic drunk drivers. More than 26 percent of Wisconsin adult drivers admit to driving drunk.
There are almost 50,000 third-time offenders and 8,000 fifth-time offenders in Wisconsin. This, in part, is due to the fact that Wisconsin has some of the weakest repeat offender laws for OWI. It is the only state where the first drunk driving offense is not considered a crime, but a simple traffic offense.
Drunk driving, whether involving a first-time offender or a repeat-offender, is a dangerous and deadly problem facing Wisconsin citizens. In 2013, the Department of Transportation released data showing that there were 4,954 alcohol-related crashes, leading to 185 deaths and 2,660 injuries.
Although a drunk driving accident may result in catastrophic injuries, victims may still pursue legal recourse by filing a personal injury lawsuit. If you have been injured due to a drunk driver, an attorney will ensure that all necessary steps are taken to help you recover compensation.
Contact an Experienced Wisconsin Drinking and Driving Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident where the driver was intoxicated, reach out to our Green Bay car accident attorneys and Appleton car accident attorneys at Herrling Clark Law Firm Ltd. today. With offices located in Appleton, Green Bay, New London, and Oshkosh, we can help ensure that you receive adequate compensation for your injuries.