Sunday, May 18, 2008

Vehicle Seizure Is Already In Wisconsin Law For A 3rd OWI

Some of the talk about reformation of Wisconsin's OWI laws includes adding seizure of a vehicle for an offender's 3rd conviction - - but WisDOT documents about current Wisconsin law linked here indicate that judges already have that authority if the offender was caught driving his or her own car.

As was seen in the recent Oconomowoc triple-fatality, it wasn't a toothless statute that allowed the accused thrice-convicted OWI offender Dr. Mark Benson to remain free after sentencing and able to get behind the wheel of his Cadillac SUV prior to the crash.

It was the the failure of Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Lee S. Dreyfus, Jr., to take full advantage of the law at sentencing to a) send Benson to jail immediately to begin his 75-day sentence, and b) seize Benson's vehicle, since Benson's sentence included work release and Benson had a history of driving after revocation.

After the uproar over the Benson case, Dreyfus said he would begin sending convicted OWI offenders to jail immediately upon sentencing, adding he was not changing his practice because of the crash that Benson allegedly caused.

Benson remains jailed after failing to post $1 million bail and is facing more than 100 years in prison for OWI/homicide and related charges stemming from the crash.

The victims were Jennifer Bukosky, 39, her unborn six-month-old daughter, and another daughter, 10-year-old Courtney Bella.

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