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Drunk Driving Laws | Car Accident Attorneys Madison, WI

Are The New Drunk Driving Laws Tough Enough? Car Accident Attorneys Madison, WI Can Help

Car accident attorneys in Madison, Wisconsin are among the busiest in the nation, due to Wisconsin’s high rate of drunk driving. In fact, Wisconsin has the highest rate of drunk driving in the nation, and nearly half of all fatal car accidents here are alcohol-related.

Tougher Penalties Coming

In January 2016, the Wisconsin Senate passed a new measure that will provide tougher penalties for drunk driving offenses, but is it enough to curb this dangerous behavior? Even these tougher provisions leave Wisconsin with the most lenient drunk driving laws in the country. In every other state, a first-time Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) is a criminal offense. In Wisconsin, first time offenders get a traffic ticket, but still lose their license for at least 6 months and may have to install an Ignition Interlock Device. The charge, however, is not a crime. You can’t go to jail. The second offense is a misdemeanor with a mandatory jail sentence of five days to six months, and a fine of up to $1,100. The law currently provides for installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) after a second offense.

The new bill designates all fourth OWI offenses as felonies, and carries a penalty of up to three years in prison. Fifth and sixth OWI offenses are now Class G felonies (instead of the current Class H), which increases potential prison sentences by three to five years. All subsequent offenses receive longer sentences under the new law, up to and including a 10-year sentence for a tenth offense.

Protecting The Victims

Regardless of what criminal charges, jail time, and fines a convicted OWI driver may face, that person is liable for the damages and injuries caused in an OWI related crash. In some cases, they may also be liable for punitive damages from the car crash or accident. If you or a loved one has been injured in an OWI crash or accident, the car accident attorneys at Madison, Wisconsin’s Eisenberg Law Offices can help protect your rights. Contact us online or call us at 608-256-8356 to discuss your accident and injuries, and your rights as a victim.