4th offense OWI becomes a felony in Wisconsin

gov scott walkerMadison Governor Scott Walker signed seven bills into law at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison today.

Senate Bill 455, now Act 371, increases penalties for drunk driving offenses and aligns state law with surrounding states in how multiple offenders are penalized. The bill was authored by Senator Alberta Darling (R River Hills) and Representative Jim Ott (R Mequon).

The law makes a fourth drunken driving offense a felony regardless of when it occurred. Currently, a fourth offense is a felony only if committed within five years of a third.

This also increases the maximum prison sentence for fifth and sixth offenses from three years to five. Maximum sentences for seventh, eighth and ninth offenses increase from five years to seven and a half. The maximum sentence for a 10th or subsequent offense will rise from seven and a half years to a decade.?Wisconsin remains the only state, that doesn’t criminalize a first offense.