NEW INFORMATION: Legislators want to send drunken driving message

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

All three bills are sponsored by Republican Rep. Jim Ott, of Mequon.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Two Republican lawmakers pushing to toughen Wisconsin's notoriously weak drunken driving penalties say it's long past time to take action to deter repeat offenders.

Rep. Jim Ott and Sen. Alberta Darling outlined three bills they've written during a public hearing in front of the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Thursday. One would make third and fourth offense felonies. The second would increase penalties for injuring someone in a drunken driving accident. The third would impose a mandatory 10-year prison sentence on anyone who kills someone while driving drunk.

Ott and Darling say something must be done to force repeat offenders to take their actions seriously. They say their bills would balance justice in favor of drunken driving victims.

The committee wasn't expected to take any action on the measures.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Three measures designed to toughen Wisconsin's notoriously weak drunken driving penalties are up for a hearing before a legislative committee.

The Assembly's Judiciary Committee scheduled a hearing Thursday on the bills, which could be taken up by the full Assembly this fall or next year.

One bill makes third and fourth offense drunken driving offenses felonies. Currently, they are misdemeanors. Another proposal would increase the penalty for injuring someone in a drunken driving accident, raising the minimum jail sentence from 30 days to six months.

The third measure requires at least a 10-year prison sentence for anyone who kills another person while driving drunk. Current law has no minimum prison sentence in those cases.

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