In Texas and across the nation, the holidays are often a time for travel. People will be visiting friends and family or simply taking a vacation with the time away from work or school. In some cases, they might use alcohol or other intoxicating substances. Every year, there are auto accidents and incidents related to drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, so it is somewhat understandable that legislators and law enforcement are concerned about safety.
To counteract the risk of driving while intoxicated, certain times of the year will mean increased enforcement. While this might be an effective strategy to make the roads safer, it will also lead to arrests. Simply because there was a campaign in place to stop drivers committing a DWI does not mean that the case will automatically result in a conviction. People who are charged with DWI or any traffic violation during the holidays should be aware of their rights and formulate a defense.
Thanksgiving will put more troopers on the road to enforce the law
During Thanksgiving and through the new year, law enforcement will be vigilant about drivers who might be under the influence or are committing other violations. As part of that endeavor, the Texas Highway Patrol will be out in force from the night before the holiday through the weekend. Along with watching for drivers who are behaving in ways consistent with being under the influence, troopers will also look for drivers who commit other violations and cite them for it. That includes failing to wear a seatbelt, driving at excessive speeds, ignoring the law requiring drivers to move over and slow down for emergency vehicles and more.
There is generally a major uptick in the number of arrests and citations given during these initiatives. In 2020, nearly 37,000 people were either cited or warned. Almost 5,300 were for speeding; 752 did not have insurance; more than 500 were not wearing a seatbelt; and 245 flouted the Move Over, Slow Down law. There were also nearly 400 people arrested for felonies; more than 200 DWIs; and 120 fugitives were found.
There can be serious penalties for DWI
It is imperative to understand how DWI is adjudicated. Drivers who have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or above will be arrested and face DWI charges. The penalties vary depending on the number of times a driver has been convicted. If it is a first offense, there can be up to six months in jail with a minimum of three days; a fine of up to $2,000; and a driver license suspension for as long as one year. A second offense will result in a fine of as much as $4,000; a month to a year in jail; and up to a two-year driver license suspension. A third offense will result in a $10,000 fine; two to 10 years in jail; and up to a two-year driver license suspension. Other infractions such as DWI with a child passenger or driving with an open container of alcohol will warrant other penalties.
To address DWI charges, having legal guidance is a wise step
Since society is slowly returning to relative normalcy after the challenges that started in early 2020, there are likely to be more people out and about. Families will be traveling and teens and college students will also be home and on the road. The circumstances of any investigation and the arrest can be called into question as part of a criminal defense. If, for example, there was no justification for the traffic stop, the Breathalyzer test was inaccurate or the driver had a viable reason for appearing to be under the influence but was not, it can help with the case. A conviction can have long-term ramifications personally, financially and professionally. It is best to try and find workable solutions to avoid the consequences whether that is an acquittal, a treatment program or finding another way to reach a positive result.