New law increases penalties for repeat drunken drivers

Body: 

Tougher penalties lie in wait for repeat drunk drivers.

The new law increases the maximum penalties for drivers convicted of seven or more offenses of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs goes into effect.

Under the old law, all offenses over five carried a maximum of a $10,000 fine and six-year sentence with three in confinement. The new law creates another tier of penalties. People convicted of seventh, eighth or ninth offenses face a $25,000 fine and five years in prison and five years extended supervision. A person convicted 10 or more times face a maximum penalty of a $25,000 fine and 71?z2 years in prison and five years extended supervision.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, 184 Wisconsin drivers were convicted in 2007 of a seventh, eighth or ninth offense, and 12 drivers were convicted for their 10th or greater offense.

The new law also increases the surcharge for all drunk driving convictions from $355 to $365. The county where the conviction occurred will receive $219 of the surcharge. The state will get $146 with $14 of the state's share going to the Safe Ride Program, sponsored by the Tavern League of Wisconsin.