NNNicolet Law Office, S.C.

MADD: Wisconsin's drunk driving laws need to be harsher

Drunk driving remains a serious problem in Wisconsin, and in 2012 was responsible for one out of every three traffic deaths in the state.

Advocates against drunk driving say it's the state's laws -- or lack thereof -- that cause many people in Wisconsin to get behind the wheel after they have been drinking.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving's annual review, Wisconsin has some of the worst laws in the country when it comes to deterring drunk driving. MADD gave both Wisconsin and Minnesota a two-out-of-five rating.

MADD said one of the main problems with Wisconsin's laws is that they treat a first-time OWI as a traffic offense instead of a criminal one.

Not only does this make punishments less severe for those who are convicted, it also means police can't require suspected drunk drivers to provide a blood or urine sample without a search warrant.

Additionally, MADD said the state needs to do more with ignition interlock devices, which require people who have been convicted of drunk driving to pass a breathalyzer test before their cars will start.

At this point, judges can only order first-time offenders to install the devices if they had a blood-alcohol content (BAC) level of .15 or higher, which is nearly two times the legal limit to drive.

Finally, while many other states allow police to run temporary checkpoints to randomly check drivers for intoxication, Wisconsin does not. MADD says this results in more people driving drunk in the state because people are less concerned about getting caught.

Wisconsin lawmakers are currently considering two bills that would ramp up OWI enforcement in the state.

One bill would allow police to require blood samples from suspected drunk drivers, even for first-time offenders. The other, which is facing opposition from the Wisconsin Tavern League, would require ignition interlock devices for anyone who is convicted of OWI.

It is likely that anyone who has lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident would agree with MADD that Wisconsin's OWI laws could use some toughening.

Source: Green Bay Press Gazette, "Wisconsin fails MADD report on drunken-driving prevention," Doug Schneider, Feb. 17, 2014

Awards & Recognition

Our peers and independent third-party organizations have recognized the hard work and dedication we put into every case. This has led to numerous awards and accolades.

  1. Rated By Super Lawyers | Russel D. Nicolet
    Super Lawyers Rising Stars
    Avvo Rating 10.0 Superb | Top Attorney Personal Injury Avvo Rating 10.0 Superb | Top Attorney Bankruptcy
  2. The American Association of Legal Advocates Wisconsin Association for Justice BBB Accredited Business - A+
  3. Minnesota State Bar Association American Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin
  4. BV Distinguished | Lexis Nexis | Martindale-Hubbell | For Ethical Standards and Legal Ability The National Trial Lawyers

Office Locations

Hudson Office
511 2nd Street Suite 203
Hudson, WI 54016

Phone: 715-802-0872
Hudson Law Office Map

Wausau Office
408 Third Street, Suite 303
Wausau, WI 54401

Phone: 715-716-4673
Wausau Law Office Map

Rice Lake Office
337 N. Main Street
Rice Lake, WI 54868

Phone: 715-802-0872
Rice Lake Law Office Map

Eau Claire Office
402 Graham Ave, Suite 305
Eau Claire, WI 54701

Phone: 715-802-0872
Eau Claire Law Office Map

Woodbury Office
724 Bielenberg Drive, Suite 126
Woodbury, MN 55125

Phone: 651-243-2872
Woodbury Law Office Map

Amery Office
228 Keller Ave N., Suite 3A
Amery, WI 54001

Phone: 715-802-0872
Amery Law Office Map

Superior Office
1720 North Twelfth Street
Superior, WI 54880

Phone: 715-802-0872
Superior Law Office Map

New Richmond Office
1500 Madison Ave., Suite 220
New Richmond, WI 54017

Phone: 715-802-0872
New Richmond Law Office Map

Satellite Offices

Regional Office Map

Nicolet Law Office, S.C. helps people throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota including; Hudson, Eau Claire, Superior, Wausau, Amery, Rice Lake, Chippewa Falls, River Falls, Menomonie, Hayward, New Richmond, Spooner, Bloomer and Barron.

Privacy Policy | Business Development Solutions by FindLaw, part of Thomson Reuters.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.