By Kyle Maichle, Editor of Wisconsin Election Watch
MILWAUKEE – On Thursday morning, Republican Attorney General candidate Brad Schimel (R-Waukesha) went on WTMJ Radio’s Midday with Charlie Sykes to discuss his stances on drunk driving policy a day after revelations were made of a citation he received for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in 1990.
During the program, Schimel said: “What happened in 1990 was a terrible mistake, I took responsibility of it then and I take ownership now,” said the Republican candidate for Attorney General. Schimel also said: “I’m disappointed that some are trying to connect the two” in response to a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article saying that he would be opposed to criminalizing first offense DWI. When asked to respond to a statement from Democrat Attorney General Candidate Jon Richards accusing him for not being more forthcoming about his drunk driving conviction, Schimel said: “There was no secret about this. It was going to come out.”
Schimel clarified his stance on criminalizing the first offense for drunken driving in Wisconsin. He told Sykes that he was not opposed to criminalizing first offense drunken driving. He said: “It’s a question of a good public policy. If we can demonstrate that it will make a change, it will make a difference in people’s decisions about driving under the influence when they have are no priors, we should do it.” The Waukesha County District Attorney stressed that if the State of Wisconsin goes forward with criminalizing first offense OWI, then “we better be prepared to spend the money”. Schimel said that it would cost $100 million per a state budget to fund more Assistant District Attorneys and judges in order to prosecute first offense drunk driving citing fiscal estimates from the Wisconsin Legislature.
Currently, other Midwestern states such as Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Minnesota treat the first offense for drunken driving as a criminal offense. Wisconsin Election Watch contacted representatives from the Indiana Institute for Criminal Justice, the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Minnesota Judicial Branch, the Michigan Department of Transportation, and the Iowa Department of Transportation regarding how much it costs their states to prosecute DUI offenses on an annual basis. None of them provided any cost figures at the time of publication.
Editor's Note: Our article can be found at-http://wisconsinelectionwatch.com/12879/brad-schimel-discusses-drunken-driving-policy-statewide-radi...