52
      Thursday
      74 / 49
      Friday
      80 / 53
      Saturday
      81 / 59

      Wisconsin panel OKs drunken driving appearances

      The Wisconsin state Capitol in Madison is seen, Jan. 14, 2014.
      The Wisconsin state Capitol in Madison is seen, Jan. 14, 2014.
      MADISON (AP) - The state Senate's public safety committee has approved a bill that would require all first-time drunken driving offenders to appear in court.

      First-offense drunken driving in Wisconsin is a civil violation akin to a speeding ticket. Offenders can pay their fines without appearing in court.

      Republican Rep. Jim Ott's bill would mandate court appearances for first-time offenders. Any offenders who fail to show up would be found guilty, be subject to arrest and face an additional $300 surcharge on top of their drunken driving fine.

      The Assembly passed the bill on a voice vote in November. The Senate panel approved the measure unanimously Thursday, clearing the way for a vote in the full Senate.