Many Waukesha residents enjoy having a few glasses of wine or beer when dining at a nice restaurant. Those who do so, however, must be careful about whether they choose to drive afterward. While many feel competent to drive after having a few drinks, they may be facing serious consequences if they are pulled over and charged with drunk driving, especially if it is not their first offense.

Although many states across the nation require the use of ignition interlock devices for all DUI offenders, Wisconsin has yet to enact a similar policy. Interlock devices are wired directly into the ignition system of the vehicle. Before the vehicle can start, the driver must submit a breath sample through the device, which measures the amount of alcohol in the blood. Legislators are working to mandate these devices to be used for all convicted DUI offenders.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving has also recommended that Wisconsin considers strengthening the current laws for first-time DUI offenders. The current penalties include a driver’s license suspension and the issuance of a traffic ticket. Under the proposed bill, the fine for a first DUI offense would be increased to $300 and charged as a misdemeanor. The charge would come with a possible five days in jail as well.

The state’s attorney general objects to the proposed legislation, stating that criminalizing a first offense could actually contribute to more DUI related deaths, rather than making the streets safer.

People who are facing a DUI charge may have questions concerning penalties or the legal system in general. A reputable attorney may be able to help them by ensuring their rights are upheld in court. They can also inform them of all of their legal options, including plea bargaining.

Source: Herald, “Attorney general candidate looks to criminalize first offense OWI,” Aaron Drews, Feb. 18, 2014.

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