New Changes May Require OWI 1st In-Person Appearance:
The Wisconsin Senate Committee on Transportation, Public Safety and Veterans and Military Affairs recently approved a bill that would require any person cited for a first offense operating while intoxicated to appear in person to make his or her plea. Currently, a person cited for first offense OWI, a civil violation, may choose to appear in person and plead not guilty, or may choose to pay the relevant forfeiture and avoid a court appearance. If approved, the bill (2013 Senate Bill 57), would mandate appearance in person, in either circuit or municipal court, depending on the citing authority. In addition, the bill would obligate municipalities to enact ordinances requiring such appearances for first offense OWI citations. This is one of numerous changes to the OWI laws in Wisconsin that are currently pending before the legislature. The State Assembly passed the bill in November, and the committee’s approval allows the bill to head to the full Senate for a vote.