State Looks to Deal With Repeat OWI Offenders

The number of repeat OWI offenders has been on the rise in Wisconsin, leading many to feel that current laws are not strict enough to stop people from driving drunk.

Wisconsin is the only state in the country in which a first OWI conviction is a civil offense rather than a criminal one.
Jail sentences are also shorter in Wisconsin for repeat offenders than they are in other nearby states such as Illinois.

Kyle Mayo of the Marathon County District Attorney's office says that despite rules being less harsh than in some other states, Wisconsin's OWI laws are still designed to stop repeat offenders.

"We try and increase the penalty.The forth, fifth, and sixth offense all have the same maximum penalty. It is six years in prison and three years of extended supervision. What we try and do is increase the penalty for each one." Mayo said.

Currently in Wisconsin, fines for first time OWI convictions can be as low as $150.
Drivers are also only required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles if they have over a .15 blood alcohol content.