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Appeals court rules against drunk drivers who claim 1st OWI ticket can't be used againt them


WAUSAU, WI (WTAQ) - Four drunk drivers in northeast Wisconsin have failed to get their penalties reduced, by claiming that a first-time OWI ticket should not be held against them for subsequent violations.

The Third District Appeals Court in Wausau issued the ruling in similar cases that were consolidated from Brown, Outagamie, and Shawano counties.

The four defendants claimed that since first-time OWI is a simple citation, there’s not enough proof to hold the first conviction against them for subsequent drunk driving convictions – and therefore, they said their penalties should be reduced.

The appellate judges said the courts have upheld Wisconsin’s graduated OWI penalties several times over the years.

Appellate Judge Mark Mangerson added that it would not be the smartest defense to take to a jury. He said that by obligating the state to prove guilt in two offenses at the same time, a defendant risks being convicted quote, “simply because the jury views him as a bad person.”