There are times when people drive home under the influence of alcohol. Many times, people get home without getting pulled over by the local police department, sheriff’s department or the state patrol. Drivers who do get pulled over for drunk driving will be arrested and need to hire an attorney. Lawyers represent men and women in the courtroom, and negotiate lighter sentences with judge and district attorney’s office, there are even times when the case gets dismissed altogether even those the individual were clearly impaired behind the wheel breaking the law. My argument for my paper is whether or not there should be stricter DUI laws in the state of Wisconsin.
The Judicial system in place has become complicated in cases of DUI arrest in Wisconsin due to the many accidents, injuries, and deaths caused each year. Examples of what people in Wisconsin read in their local paper everyday: A La Crosse woman was arrested for drunken driving after crashing her car early Saturday in the Trempealeau County of Arcadia, according to the Trempealeau County Sheriff’s Department. Crystal Goodman, 27 was driving north on Hwy. 93 near Wilber Road about 4:30 a.m. when she lost control, drove into a ditch and rolled the car. She drove off from the crash site in the badly damaged car as a witness stopped to call 911, the department stated. Police found Goodman in a gas station parking lot in Arcadia with head and neck injuries. She admitted to drink and faces charges of second offence drunken driving, operating after revocation and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Police say that a 40-year-old Wisconsin man was arrested for his sixth DUI after a concerned driver called 911 to report that the man was veering on the interstate. According to the caller, the man and a passenger in the veering car switched seats. According to police, Wisconsin deputy sheriff stopped the veering car and the passenger told the deputy that she had switched sweats with the man. Police say that the 40-year-old man accused of drunk driving was uncooperative at first and denied being under the influence of alcohol. The man’s preliminary breath test registered higher than the Higher than the state’s legal limit.
Lawmakers are trying to toughen up drunk driving penalties in Wisconsin for the following reason, this state has the highest rate of drunken driving in the nation. More than 26 percent of Wisconsin adults who were surveyed admitted that they had driven under the influence of alcohol. There were more than 44,000 convictions for drunken driving offenses in Wisconsin last year. Right now, the penalty for a first offense DUI is a simple ticket, which as I writing this paper blows my mind!
Two Milwaukee area lawmakers are attempting to toughen drunk driving penalties in our state. State Senator Alberta Darling and State Representative Jim Ott would like to make a first time DUI a crime! Quote from Darling. “We need to change culture in Wisconsin, We cannot have the highest incident of drunk driving. That is not Wisconsin. I don’t accept that.” The current laws are also not acceptable to another lawmaker in our state, Paul Jenkins. His pregnant step-daughter and her daughter were killed by a drunk driver who was under the influence of alcohol. It wasn’t the driver’s first offense. Lawmakers are attempting to strengthen the law by in addition to making first offense criminal, if the blood alcohol content is higher than .15, it would strengthen other penalties for repeat drunk drivers.
Stricter drunk driving laws are moving forward the overall sentiment in the state was that drunk driving was taking a toll on individuals and the laws were not strong enough to deter people from getting behind the wheel of their vehicle when they had too much to drink. The question of what to do about was debated in the news media outlets across the state and in Madison. Many people are opposed to stricter laws and think that there is just a culture of drinking in Wisconsin and that laws that try to change someone’s behavior isn’t right. Unfortunately, drinking and driving in this state is getting out of hand and I support stricter drunk driving laws.
The bill passed by the assembly includes a number of provisions. It raises 4th DUI to a felony if it occurs within a five years of the previous offense. Right now drunk driving is not considered a felony charge until the fifth conviction. First offense DUI would be a crime if a child is in the vehicle. Enhanced penalties for individuals that accidents while drunk driving. Ignition locking device for all repeat offenders and for first time convictions. One in ten convicted drivers already have this device in place in their vehicles, which I question whether or not this program is working.
There are many critics of the Inter lock device. American Beverage Institute President Sarah Congwell has stated, “We have always argued that in the cases of those low BAC first time offenders a judge should be involved in whether or not it makes sense to actually put an interlock in a person’s car. IID’s are expensive, inconvenient and potentially embarrassing for those who are required to have them installed critics say.