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Democratic AG candidates split on making 1st time OWI a crime

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Eight days before the primary, the three Democrats running for Wisconsin attorney general have one big disagreement -- whether first-time drunk driving should be a criminal offense.

Assembly Democrat Jon Richards of Milwaukee and Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne both say first-time OWI should be a criminal misdemeanor. Right now, Wisconsin is the only state in which first-time drunk driving gets a non-criminal ticket.

And the third Democrat in the race, Jefferson County DA Susan Happ, wants to keep it that way. She says most people's driving habits change for the better once they get an OWI rap. Happ says the state should instead crack down some more on repeat drunk driving offenders.

The winner of next Tuesday's primary will face Republican DA Brad Schimel of Waukesha County in November, for the right to replace J.B. Van Hollen.

Schimel has said he's skeptical about making one-time OWI a crime -- but he's not fully opposed to the idea, either.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)