Offenders could be subject to twice daily breath tests

Effort aimed at reducing repeat OWI offense, domestic violence

Published On: Dec 24 2013 07:41:27 AM CST   Updated On: Sep 26 2013 04:46:50 PM CDT
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi
MADISON, Wis. -

A proposal in the 2014 Dane County budget would create a program to test up to 100 alcohol-related offenders twice a day, according to Dane County Executive Joe Parisi.

The program would focus on alcohol-related drunken driving and domestic abuse offenders.

Parisi described the program as a first-in-Wisconsin pilot program with the aim of reducing repeat offenses.

Offenders sentenced to the program would be required to appear twice a day at a designated time for a mandatory Breathalyzer test.

“This first-in-Wisconsin effort will make offenders more accountable and has been shown to reduce repeat DUI arrests – saving taxpayer dollars, and lives,” said Parisi.

The budget proposal called for $25,000 to operate the program six months.

Officials said the program would be able to support itself eventually because every offender would have to pay $2 for each Breathalyzer test.

Offenders who fail a breath test would be taken to jail and would have to appear before a judge.

County officials cite a study of the program’s effectiveness in South Dakota where researchers found a 12 percent reduction in repeat OWI arrests and 9 percent reduction in domestic violence arrests.

“We’re enthusiastic. We’re optimistic that this program is going to be useful and helpful in our efforts to reduce alcohol abuse and the tragic consequences that often result from it,” said Parisi.

The program is pending approval from the country board, but if passed it could start as early as mid-2014.

If successful after the first year, the program could be expanded.