New Liquor Tax To Fund Deficient Drunk Driving Bill

On October 7th, the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Corrections, Insurance, Campaign Finance Reform, and Housing voted to increase the liquor tax to fund the reforms in the new drunk driving bill.  So the responsible taxpaying public will be paying another tax to fund a deficient bill and its “reforms”?  Why aren’t the drunk drivers the ones to pay for these reforms by increased fines?

The Assembly unanimously passed AB283, Wisconsin’s new drunk driving law on September 17th.  This law gives legislators the ability to look tough on the issue of drunk driving, but how tough is it really?  None of them would dare to vote “NO” on this legislation because their opponent would use it to say they are soft on drunk driving.  How is any of the proposed legislation really going to prevent people from driving drunk?

Repeat offenders by their very nature do not obey the law.  Most will not get an ignition interlock device, or they will simply use a different car.  What will happen to the drunk drivers who don’t comply with these rules?  Their license will be revoked?  Why would that stop them from driving?   Endangering the lives and safety of the general public is not enough of a deterrent to keep these people from driving under the influence.

First offense OWI should be criminal, but with no mandatory jail time.  Instead probation should be offered to attempt rehabilitation.  The fine should be substantial…like $2500 with a jail alternate sentence if they fail to pay the fine.  The increased fines can pay for the reforms.  Make the drunk drivers pay for their bad behavior, not the law obeying public.

Vehicle seizures should occur in all OWI cases even when a vehicle is borrowed, and be sold to offset the costs associated with this offense.  If the vehicle is gone, it will be harder for the person to drive.  Take away the means to commit the crime.

Second offense should be a mandatory 9 months county jail with the same other penalties.Third offense would be a felony with 1yr in jail and 1 yr extended supervision and the same other penalties.  The penalties for subsequent offenses would escalate from there.

This is a serious proposal with serious penalties.  It would send a message to all that OWI will not be tolerated.  This is the way to do justice to all the families who have suffered tragic losses by drunk drivers.

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