Attorney Carlos Gamino has been known to spend some significant time behind the wheel (he rarely lets anyone else drive, actually). There have been a lot of stories in the news recently about bad Wisconsin drivers winning back their licenses, so we decided to interview Carlos Gamiño to see what he thinks about when enough is enough.
What causes people in Wisconsin to lose their licenses?
Carlos Gamiño: A driver’s license can be revoked, suspended or cancelled in the state of Wisconsin for a number of reasons. Being convicted of drunk driving, letting someone else use your license or leaving the scene of an accident are generally the most common reasons people lose their licenses. We also have a point system, which allows you to get up to 11 points in a year before your license is suspended.
Who assigns the points, and why?
Attorney Gamiño: The Department of Motor Vehicles assigns points for moving violations. If you’re convicted of the same offense more than once, the points increase. The point is so that the state can track “bad” drivers and revoke their licenses if they seem to be posing a hazard to other drivers.
Are any licenses permanently revoked?
Attorney Carlos Gamiño: Sometimes the courts permanently revoke licenses, but it’s not as common as you might think. You can check the current status of your license on the DMV’s website (it falls under the Wisconsin Department of Transportation). Generally, your driving convictions will stay on your record for five years. However, things that the state considers serious offenses—such as drunk driving and other alcohol-related incidents—stay on your record for 55 years.
Is there a point where someone’s license should be revoked and never given back? Are we doing enough to protect other drivers?
Attorney Gamiño: That’s all up to the courts. When a judge looks at a person’s driving record and sees that they’re habitually endangering the public, he or she might decide that the person is too irresponsible behind the wheel and revoke the license. Our court system is set up to protect people from people who are (or, in this case, who may be) dangerous to others, so I think that combined with the police’s efforts to keep the roads in Milwaukee and Waukesha safe, the courts are doing what they can to protect other drivers.
What Do You Think?
Should some drivers have their privileges permanently revoked, or does everyone deserve a second chance? Share your thoughts here or on our Facebook page.