New law requires minimum 5 years in prison for OWI homicide

MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - Drunk drivers who kill someone other than his or her passenger will now face a mandatory prison sentence of at least 5 years.

We first told you about the push by families to change the law in our investigative reports in 2015 but the problem has outraged victims' families for years.

Those families now believe their years of persistence have grabbed lawmakers' attention.

Gov. Evers signed Assembly Bill 17 into law Wednesday.

Similar bills have been presented but never reached both houses of the Legislature. The Assembly passed the bill in June but the Senate didn't take it up until earlier this month.

While the bill establishes five years as the minimum for OWI homicide, the bill does give a judge leeway to impose a sentence shorter than 5 years if there's a compelling reason, but the judge must explain their reasoning in detail in the public record.