Assembly Will Likely Approve Increased Penalties For Drunken Driving

Bill Could Come With Huge Pricetag Due To Increased Prison Time For Offenders


The state Assembly will likely pass a bill Tuesday that would increase penalties for repeat drunken drivers and would could cost state government up to $129 million.

The proposal by Mequon Republican Rep. Jim Ott would make a fourth drunken driving offense a mandatory felony and increase penalties for subsequent offenses. Because it would lead to an increase in prison time for repeat offenders, the Department of Corrections estimates it could cost the state between $98 million to $129 million per year.

Ott told reporters he disagrees with the estimate.

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“My feeling is there’s going to be less convictions because there is going to be a deterrent effect. “So I think the cost is an overestimate,” he said.

If the estimate is correct, the cost could prove very significant, given that state government is projected to finish this two-year budget cycle with a balance of just $135 million.

The plan already passed the Senate.