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Investigation Shows Milwaukee Officers Get Off Easier From Drunk Driving Charges

October 29, 2011 |

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation showed that at least 35 members of Milwaukee’s police force have been disciplined by the police department for driving while intoxicated after being arrested while off duty since they were hired. In most of the cases, the officers faced very minimal consequences for their actions.

The article profiled a few separate cases, including a young woman who was seriously injured by an off-duty officer in a crash when he was drinking and driving. He received a 10-day suspension and his two misdemeanor criminal charges were reduced to a first-time offense ticket, which is what he would have received if he had just been pulled over and found to be drinking, in addition to a $300 fine. At the time, his blood-alcohol level was more than double the legal limit. 

During the two-year investigation, records showed 10 officers had been in serious incidents while they were drinking and driving and only four of them were eventually convicted of criminal charges. 

Additionally, the investigation showed that many other lines of work do not tolerate drunk driving and had much harsher punishments for the offenses. The article cites a cab company as firing employees who have one conviction. In Wisconsin, a second offense would be a misdemeanor and would result in a lifetime ban for jobs requiring commercial driver’s licenses.

In Wisconsin, a first drunk driving offense usually results in a ticket, not a criminal charge like it would in most other states. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, alcohol played a factor in 44 percent of crashes where people were killed in Wisconsin in 2009. Wisconsin is the state with the highest rate of drunken driving in the nation.

If you or your loved one has been seriously injured or your loved on has been killed in an accident where alcohol played a factor, the attorneys at Cannon & Dunphy S.C. will aggressively fight for you and your rights to help you gain fair compensation. Contact our offices today for a free initial consultation.


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