Only two people are facing charges for drunk driving after celebrating New Year’s Eve. Eau Claire Police say they arrested only two at the end of 2018, half as many as the last day of 2017. There were extra officers on duty as the new year began. Still, officers say they see about the same amount of people driving under the influence on a normal weekend in Eau Claire.
And on that note, now that 2019 is here, and that could mean harsher penalties for drivers convicted of OWI for the first time. Wisconsin Governor-elect Tony Evers has said he’s open to the stricter penalties, and he has some support from the law enforcement community. Right now, a first-time OWI is considered a civil offense, not a criminal one. It already carries hefty fines and the possibility of losing your license, but leaders hope making the offense criminal could discourage repeat offenders.