When Wisconsin legislators meet at the start of each session, there are many items on the agenda that need to be addressed. Many of these issues can be quite costly, and the state needs to be sure that any new initiatives have the appropriate funding.

Many resources have been devoted toward reducing the amount of crime that is happening statewide. Often, legislators consider passing new laws that could increase some of the penalties that individuals may be facing if they are convicted. This session, the state focused a considerable amount of attention on repeat DUI offenders.

The proposal would have strengthened the rules that applied to repeat DUI offenders in Wisconsin. The new law would require a mandatory three-year prison sentence for anyone convicted of a seventh or higher drunk-driving offense. This would remove some of the discretion that judges have in these cases, as under current laws, they have some leeway in deciding how much prison time will be imposed. The bill has passed in the house, but has not been voted on by the senate.

These changes have been proposed in an effort to more strongly punish those drivers convicted of multiple DUIs. Currently, those charged with a second DUI offense will see a fine as well as the loss of a driver's license for at least six months; however they may not have to spend any time in jail. Jail time is may only be part of the sentence if the offender has had a prior DUI conviction within the past ten years. Penalties for those with multiple convictions within a ten-year period increase, resulting in jail time, higher fines and also the installation of an ignition interlock device.

This is not the first time that legislators have tried to increase the DUI penalties for repeat offenders. The state has been pressured to make its drunk-driving rules tougher, even for first-time offenders. Legislators will continue to address DUI laws each session, meaning that there could be significant changes to these laws in the future.

If you have been charged with drunk driving, you need to know what will happen to you if you are convicted. You should discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney to understand how you to protect yourself at this time. An attorney can explain the options that are available to you, and help you make a decision that is best for you.