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Waukesha County DA admits "error of judgement" for 1990 OWI citation

WAUKESHA, WI (WTAQ) - A candidate for Wisconsin's top law enforcement office says he deeply regrets a "terrible error of judgment" when he was ticketed for drunk driving in 1990.  

A campaign consultant confirmed Brad Schimel's OWI citation, after Schimel said on Tuesday he was skeptical about making first-time drunk driving a crime.  

The 48-year-old Schimel is the Waukesha County district attorney. He's the only Republican candidate to replace J.B. Van Hollen, who will leave office after this year.  

Schimel said he pleaded guilty to his OWI citation, and he works each day to help others learn from his experience. As DA, Schimel said he has helped create "innovative and successful programs" to reduce the numbers of OWI offenders.  

Wisconsin is the only state in which first-time drunk driving is not a criminal offense. One of Schimel's Democratic election opponents, Milwaukee Assembly Democrat Jon Richards, said Schimel should have been more forthcoming about his OWI conviction.  

Richards noted that if Schimel gets caught today, he still wouldn't be charged with a crime because a second OWI ticket would come more than 10 years after his first.  

The Assembly voted last year to make all two-time offenses criminal misdemeanors. The Senate does not plan to take it up this spring, thus killing the measure for the current session.  

Richards voted for the tighter penalty. Schimel's campaign said he supports it as well.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)