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Senior Viewpoint

Dick Steinberg has resided in the city of Brookfield for 35 years. He served 34 years as municipal judge and has been an attorney for 50 years. He enjoys tennis, golf, biking and creative writing, which includes legal issues, sports, government and people.

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Reasons to amend 1st offense Drunken Driving Law

Legislators and candidates for office are debating the issue of amending the laws pertaining to Operating While Under the Influence of an Intoxicant in Wisconsin. One of the issues is whether to amend the 1st offense OWI Laws to create more strict penalties. It should not be that difficult to accomplish. Now, jurisdiction for 1st offense violations is in the Municipal Court where the arrest took place. (in some cases where there is no Municipal Court the case goes to Circuit Court). These are some changes that can and should be made: 1.There is no computer generated public record in Municipal Court like CCAP. If the charge is a misdemeanor it should be available to see on CCAP. 2.The 1st offense charge should be a misdemeanor/crime if the Blood Alcohol or other defining test is .015 or over, that being twice the amount of alcohol consumed under the present criteria of .08. 3.Under the present law a defendant may enter into a written stipulation authorized by the prosecutor and approved by the Judge, as the sentencing document 4.That should be amended to require defendant to appear in person at all stages of the court proceedings when charged with a misdemeanor/crime. 5.Sentencing guidelines should give the Judge the option of a mandatory 30 days in county jail, work release, and after serving the sentence a probation period of 6 months. These amendments are meant to satisfy the proponents of stricter OWI laws and punish first offense violators with a high degree of intoxication.

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