In Wisconsin, as in many states, people face increased penalties for each subsequent DUI conviction after their first. In other words, a person found guilty of a fifth DUI offense can receive a harsher sentence than a person convicted of a fourth DUI offense. Until recently, Wisconsin law permitted prior license revocations for refusal to submit to chemical testing as a prior conviction for the purpose of increasing DUI penalties. The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently deemed the scheme unconstitutional, however, as it imposed criminal penalties on people who exercised their right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. As in Wisconsin, people convicted of multiple DUI crimes in Illinois face increased penalties, and it is smart for anyone charged with a second or higher DUI offense to consult a trusted Illinois DUI defense lawyer regarding their rights.
The Wisconsin Ruling
In the case that brought about the ruling, the defendant was charged with a DUI, which was his sixth offense. He had his driving privileges previously revoked for refusing to submit to a warrantless blood draw when he was stopped for suspicion of DUI, however. As such, following his conviction, he was sentenced for a seventh DUI crime, which carried greater penalties than a sixth offense, in accordance with Wisconsin’s increased penalty scheme. He subsequently appealed.
It is reported that the Wisconsin Supreme Court ultimately ruled that the statutory construction permitting the courts to count the revocation of driving privileges for refusing to submit to a blood draw in the absence of a warrant as a criminal offense for the purposes of increasing penalties for repeat DUI offenders was unconstitutional. Continue reading →