Waukesha, WI- Repeat drunken driving is a major issue in every state and Wisconsin is no exception. In fact, OWI laws in the state may be a little too lax on repeat offenders as the recent arrest of an Appleton man demonstrates.
The Journal Sentinel reports that 52 year-old Todd Lowery was arrested for his 12th OWI last week after he crashed his car into a ditch in Racine County. According to the police report, Lowery was discovered around 1 a.m.
Lowery was charged with operating while intoxicated, driving on a revoke license and having an open container in his vehicle.
The Journal Sentinel reports that thousands of Wisconsin residents have racked up at least five DUIs and 30 people have at least 12. This means that despite all the legal headaches, driver’s license suspensions and costly fine far too many OWI offenders fail to learn their lesson and repeat their offense over and over again. The state’s laws are ineffectual in discouraging drunken drivers partly because the laws carry very minimal penalties. A person must be charged with the OWI two or more times before jail even becomes a possibility. License suspension is minimal and so are the fines. Basically, Wisconsin’s OWI laws are so lenient they fail to discourage repeat drunken drivers.
Wisconsin also happens to be one of the few states that don’t require ignition interlock devices for first-time offenders. These devises prevent a car from starting if the driver is too drunk and are considered effective deterrents to would-be drunken drivers. For years, Mother against Drunk Drivers have successfully lobbied states to utilize these devices, but thus far have been unsuccessful in Wisconsin.
Repeat OWI offenses are such a problem in Wisconsin that two state lawmakers are taking steps to make the laws harder on these offenders. State Representatives Eric Genrich and Rep. Andre Jacque are working on legislation that would call for a mandatory revocation of a person’s driver’s license for life if they are convicted of five or more OWI offenses.
A conviction for operating while intoxicated has penalties beyond a person’s entanglement with the law. Having an OWI conviction on your record will affect you even when you have successfully completed your sentence. Since it stays on a person’s record or ten years, such a conviction can be used against a person even when they are applying for college or a job.
Just because Wisconsin has lenient OWI laws doesn’t mean a person can do without a Wisconsin OWI attorney. Whether it is your first offense of a subsequent offense, you need an adept attorney working on your defense. They understand how to challenge the evidence presented against you and have the skills necessary to negotiate with the courts for a lesser charge or a plea bargain. You don’t have to hire an attorney, but they are your best hope for minimizing the impact an OWI can have on your life and your future.