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Wisconsin Supreme Court approves mandatory 3-year sentences for chronic DUI offenders

When Wisconsin drivers drive while intoxicated, they are often punished severely. Unfortunately, some drivers do not learn from their previous mistakes and become chronic offenders, which increases the likelihood that they will cause an auto accident in the future. Recent legislation, however, requires that all chronic drunk drivers receive prison sentences of at least three years, excluding supervised probation.

Three years after a Wisconsin man appealed the sentence he received for his seventh drunk driving offense, the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of a three-year minimum sentence requirement for chronic drunk drivers. It is not clear whether someone who has had more than two drunk driving convictions will be subject to the law, or if a driver must have three, four, five, six, or even seven convictions before he or she is considered a chronic offender.

Before the Supreme Court ruling clarified the issue, repeat offenders may have received three-year prison sentences, but it may have been interrupted with supervised probation.

It is impossible to predict whether the mandatory minimum prison sentence for repeat drunk driving offenders will reduce the frequency of drunk driving across the state. It is unknown whether neighboring states have similar sentence requirements.

People who drive while intoxicated put themselves and others at great risk. Victims of drunk driving accounts often suffer serious injuries, and the accident may even prove fatal. Thankfully, victims of drunk driving accidents or their family members may be entitled to compensation to cover their medical expenses and any other costs related to the loss of a loved one.

Source: Fond du Lac Reporter, “Chronic Wisconsin drunk drivers will get prison,” July 15, 2014

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