MENASHA, Wis (WFRV) Wisconsin is the only state in the nation in which first-offense drunk driving is not a criminal offense. Now a move to try and change that.

Terri Goudy knows the impact a drunk driver can make in someone’s life. Six years ago, her 19-year-old son Sam and two friends,  were killed by a drunk driver heading north in the southbound lanes of U.S. 41 in Ashwaubenon – hitting the car they were driving head-on.

“It will be six years this Friday that Samuel, Arielle and Paige were taken from this earth and they’ll never be here ever again,” said Goudy. “All because of one man’s choice.”

The devastating news Goudy received – is unfortunately given to families often all across the state. In 2012 – 223 people were killed in alcohol-related accidents and WI had the highest rate of drunk driving in the nation. Yet Representative Andre Jacque (R-De Pere) says the penalty for first-offense drunk driving is basically the same as receiving a traffic ticket.

“It’s sad we have not been able to get greater traction in the legislature to treat drunk driving with the seriousness it deserves,” said Rep. Jacque.

Jacque is supporting a bill that would change the penalty for first-offense drunk driving from a small fine and no jail time – to a criminal misdemeanor with up to a $500 fine and as much as 30 days in jail.

“I can’t understand why this is a change that hasn’t been made sooner,” said Jacque.

A change that Jacque hopes makes people think twice before drinking and driving.

“I think it’s an amazing idea yes,” said Goudy.

A proposal Terri Goudy says is long overdue. But one that unfortunately won’t bring her son back.

“I think if people had consequences right away, knew the laws of what would happen to them – it would change a lot of people choices that night when they were drinking,” Goudy said.

The man who killed Goudy’s son and friends – was drinking for four hours before the accident.
(WFRV) – A bill that would make first offense drunk driving a crime is set to be introduced in the state legislature.

The bill was written by Rep. Terese Berceau (D-Madison.) Rep. Andre Jacque (R – De Pere) is a sponsor.

The bill would make a first OWI a misdemeanor, with a fine up to $500, plus up to 30 days in jail. Right now, the first conviction is a violation with no jail time. Wisconsin is the only state where the first OWI is not a criminal offense. 

Representative Jacque discussed the bill on Local 5 News at 6.