Wisconsin To Consider Tougher Drunk Driving Laws


Two state lawmakers say they will try to pass legislation cracking down on drunk driving in the next session.

Rep. Jim Ott and Sen. Alberta Darling plan to introduce bills that would, among other things,require first-time offenders to appear in court, make a third conviction a felony, and establish mandatory minimum sentences for drunken drivers who cause injuries or death. Steve Riffel is the Public Safety Director for Sheboygan Falls and President of the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association. He wouldn’t comment specifically on the legislation because he hasn’t seen language. But, Riffel says, there is room for improvement in state law.

“I think getting people introduced into the system even at the first time level whether its a criminal offense or not a criminal offense but making it mandatory that they appear in court, mandatory that they go through an assesment,” he says.”Things like that certainly cannot hurt.

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Ott and Darling tried to pass similar legislation in the last session. That effort met resistance after fiscal estimates showed the changes would cost the state tens of millions of dollars.