Wisconsin State Journal 01/01/2013, Page A01
By TODD RICHMOND
Two Republican legislators are gearing up for another try at toughening the notoriously weak drunken driving laws in Wisconsin, where pounding booze is hard-wired into the culture — and drunken driving kills scores every year.
In Wisconsin, a driver who is caught driving over the limit for the first time is charged with a civil violation akin to a speeding ticket. But the introduction of harsher sanctions has been held back by prohibitive cost estimates and pushback from the state’s powerful Tavern League.
State Rep. Jim Ott and Sen. Alberta Darling say they will try again this session to criminalize certain first-time offenses, make a third offense a felony and establish mandatory minimum sentences for drivers who cause crashes.