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Permanent license revocation law to be proposed in Wisconsin

An extremely tough law against drunk driving is expected to be introduced in the Wisconsin Legislature within the next month or so.

The Wausau Daily Herald reported that two state lawmakers from Brown County are planning to co-sponsor a bill that would permanently revoke the driver’s licenses of individuals who are convicted of drunk driving for the fifth time.

Reportedly, Reps. Eric Genrich, D-Green Bay, and Andre Jacque, R-De Pere began working on the bill after a series published in November by the Gannett Wisconsin Media Investigative Team that took an in-depth look at drunk driving in the state. 

The series suggested that Wisconsin has more drunk drivers than any other state and there are few consequences for repeat OWI offenders, who often get their driver’s licenses reinstated three years after their sentences have been served.

The bill’s permanent license revocation is expected to contain an exception for people who stay out of trouble with the law and successfully complete treatment programs. For them, it may be possible to apply for reinstated driving privileges after 10 years.

Rep. Jacque said he is also considering drafting a bill that would change Wisconsin’s law that treats first-time OUI offense as a traffic violation and not a crime.

At this point, Wisconsin’s laws against drunk driving are known as being some of the more lenient in the country, but these new bills could make them some of the strictest if they are successful in the Legislature and approved by the governor.

Please check back later this week for a continued discussion on the issue, questioning whether the permanent license revocation bill misses the mark.  

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