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New bill proposes an alcohol-monitoring bracelet

While jail time, fines and license suspension may accompany a drunk driving conviction, those penalties do little to resolve what many times is the root of the problem. A new bill in the Wisconsin legislature is addressing the core of what led many state residents convicted of OWI.

Alcoholism

Introduced in February, the legislation proposes sobriety-monitoring programs for the courts to use as an alternative to ignition interlock installed in offenders' vehicles. Currently, a person convicted of drunk driving that registers a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .15 or higher is required to install the breathalyzer. The device prevents an engine from starting if breath-alcohol concentrations are more than the pre-programmed amount.

Co-author Representative Gordon Hintz claimed, "Unlike the ignition interlock devices which are aimed at keeping people sober while they're driving, this is something that actually addresses the core issue, you know, keeps people sober and gives people the opportunity to address their alcohol problem, should they have one,"

If passed, the program would require use of a breathalyzer twice a day and the wearing of an alcohol-monitoring bracelet. In addition to helping offenders with possible addiction, sobriety monitoring also saves the significant expense of ignition interlock devices. On average, the costs can reach $1,000 annually, including down payment, monthly rent, installation, recalibration and removal.

Sobriety monitoring is more cost-effective, ranging from three to six dollars per day for a program lasting approximately three months.

The Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill on March 15.

Penalties that come from drunk driving convictions are increasing in their severity. Those charged need representation from a skilled and knowledgeable lawyer.

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