Wisconsin lawmakers want to make 1st drunk-driving offense a crime

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Two Republican legislators have introduced a bill that would make first-time drunken driving a crime in Wisconsin.

Rep. Jim Ott and Sen. Alberta Darling began circulating the proposal for co-sponsors on Thursday. Wisconsin is the only state where first-offense drunken driving is a civil violation and not a crime.

Ott and Darling's bill would make a first-time offense a misdemeanor punishable by up to $500 in fines and 30 days in jail.

The text of the bill and the bill number were not available on the state website at the time of this writing.

Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers said Wednesday he wants to criminalize first-offense drunken driving as a deterrent. Evers made the remarks after a suspected drunken driver struck and killed a firefighter who had stopped to help a driver who had lost control of her vehicle during a snowstorm in Madison on New Year's Eve.