Senate approves tougher drunken driving penalties

MADISON — The Wisconsin Senate has passed a bill that would impose tougher penalties on repeat drunken drivers.

The proposal would make a fourth offense a felony punishable by up to three years in prison regardless of when the charge is filed. Right now, a fourth offense is a felony only if it's committed within five years of a third offense.

Maximum prison sentences for fifth and sixth offenses would increase from three years to five. Maximum sentences for seventh, eighth and ninth offenses would go from five years to seven years and six months. The maximum sentence for a 10th of subsequent offense would increase from seven and a half years to a decade.

The Senate passed the proposal on a voice vote Wednesday, January 20th.

The bill goes next to the Assembly.