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Walker signs tougher drunken driving penalties

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill creating tougher drunken driving penalties.

The proposal makes a fourth drunken driving offense a felony regardless of when it occurred. Currently, a fourth offense is a felony only if committed within five years of a third.

The legislation also increases the maximum prison sentence for fifth and sixth offenses from three years to five. Maximum sentences for seventh, eighth and ninth offenses increase from five years to seven and a half. The maximum sentence for a 10th or subsequent offense will rise from seven and a half years to a decade.

Walker signed the measure Monday. He said the bill sends a message that Wisconsin is serious about drunken driving. Wisconsin remains the only state, however, that doesn’t criminalize a first offense.

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