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Wis. candidate questions drunken driving change

Published On: Jan 07 2014 05:42:09 PM CST

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MADISON, Wis. -

Attorney general hopeful Brad Schimel says he's skeptical of making first-offense drunken driving a crime.

Wisconsin is the only state where a first-offense is considered a civil violation. Schimel, Waukesha County's Republican district attorney, said Tuesday he's not sure if the other 49 states have seen any improvements in public safety.

He says he's worried criminalizing first offense would overwhelm the courts. He also says forfeitures that currently go to municipalities would go to the state, leaving municipalities in the hole and potentially leading to police layoffs. That could lead to more drunken driving.

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne, a Democrat, also is running for attorney general. He said first-offense should be a crime. State Rep. Jon Richards, another Democrat in the race, didn't immediately return a message.

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