Experts Say Wisconsin DUI Laws Lax and Lacking

By Mary Ann

Group to Push for Changes in Wisconsin DUI Laws

The Wisconsin law is in stark contrast to other states, where parents can be criminally charged for supplying minors with alcohol.

The New York Times recently highlighted that in Wisconsin, kids can drink legally. Children that are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, who gives consent, can be served alcohol in bars and restaurants in the state.

Unfortunately, Wisconsin also stands out as the state where more people drink and drive than anywhere else in the country. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that the state has the highest incidence of DUI-related (OWI-related) deaths in the United States.

A campaign for tougher DUI laws was recently launched by a coalition called All-Wisconsin Alcohol Risk Education. The group also wishes to promote a greater general awareness of drinking problems and will push for increased screening for alcohol abuse at health clinics.

View the full article



Man Racked Up 15 DUIs Before Going to Prison

By Mary Ann

Wisconsin is known for being one of the leading states in DUIs. According to a recent study by the Journal Sentinel more than 475,000 people have at least one DUI conviction and 8,000 have five or more DUI convictions.

Total DUI covered the study earlier this month, but a more recent story in the Journal Sentinel reported that there is a Wisconsin man with 15 DUIs.

Mark Allen Warner of River Falls was convicted of driving under the influence 15 times before his 40th birthday.

He wasn’t sentenced to prison until he had been convicted for the fifteenth time. For 11 DUI offenses, his blood alcohol level averaged .212.



News from Total DUI

By Mary Ann

Illinois Law Allows License Suspensions without DUI

Illinois has a new alcohol-related law that has led to more than 3,000 teenagers losing their driver’s licenses this year. The teens were not accused of DUI, but the “use-lose” law allows for driver’s license suspensions for those caught underage drinking.

The state law was passed after five teens died last year in an alcohol-related crash. Underage drinkers in Illinois may have their driver’s licenses suspended without any involvement with a car or driving…

Read more.



This Week on Total DUI

By Mary Ann

State Law Provides Illinois DUI Memorial Signs

Under a new Illinois DUI law, memorial signs for those killed in drunken driving accidents may be requested by the victims’ families. A sign with Caitlin’s name and the date of the accident that took her life was the first to be requested under “Tina’s Law.” The law is named for Tina Ball, a construction worker with seven children who was killed by a drunken driver while working on I-57 during September 2003. Read more.

Study Shows Felony Wisconsin DUI Offenders are Avoiding Prison

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that lawmakers intended to get repeat Wisconsin OWI (DUI) offenders off the road. However, an analysis of Wisconsin DUI sentencing has shown that less than half of the people who are sentenced for fifth-offense drunken-driving in Milwaukee County end up serving time in prison. View the full article.

Drug Testing Drivers Could Become as Simple as Breath Tests

The National Institute of Health has recently released research guidelines that may lead to the development of new testing methods for drug abuse that can be used as routinely as breath tests. These guidelines were published in the August journal Addiction. Read on.



Family Ties

By Mary Ann

According to The Chicago Tribune, Kelli Thompson, of Crown Point, Ind., was arrested for alleged DUI offense after she was pulled over.  The arresting officer found Thompson’s one-year-old son in her minivan and called relatives to come pick up the child.

When three relatives arrived to pick up the child, the police found that they too had all been drinking.  Robert Dereamer, the child’s father, was the first to arrive on the scene.

Once police discovered that he had been drinking, they charged him with DUI and driving on a suspended license.  He was taken to the same jail as his wife, who is also being charged with endangering the life of a child while driving intoxicated.

The grandparents came to pick up the child next, but both of them had also been drinking.  The grandmother, who was the driver, was not over the legal limit.  The police escorted the couple home.



Wisconsin’s new Beer Class Raising Glasses and Questions

By Mary Ann

The University of Wisconsin announced that it will be offering a beer brewing class this spring under the instruction of Jon Roll.

According to The Chicago Tribune, the Madison campus is one of the first in the nation to offer this type of course.

Roll says that the class is not inspired by the college’s party reputation – as it has been ranked the number one party school in the last few years by Playboy and Princeton Review.  Wisconsin is also known for having the highest binge drinking rate in the country.

However, Roll says the class was created because of the region’s history of making beer.  The course will teach students about fermentation.

MillerCoors donated equipment that will help the class make 10 gallons of beer.  At the end of the semester, the students will critique a sample, and the rest of the beer will be dumped.



Officer Reprimanded after Posting DUI Pictures on Site

By Mary Ann

Robbie Arkovich, a St. Petersburg police officer, has been using photographs taken during DUI arrests to teach at the police academy.

According to the St. Petersburg Times, the 19-year-old veteran was issued a low-level written reprimand for posting pictures from DUI investigations on his personal Web site.

The situation became an issue after a father complained to the department about his son’s photo being on the site after a May car crash.

On Monday, an assistant chief’s chain of command board found that Arkovich violated department rules, which banned the use of personal recording devices while on duty.