St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone, along with the first day of spring, and college kids are returning from their spring break vacations. But along with warmer weather, comes increased DWI (driving while intoxicated) patrols throughout the great state of Texas.
At this time last year, there were more than 1,000 DWI arrests across the state. Apparently, 226 of those were because of a federal grant given to the state in order to increase its DWI patrols during this time of year. These federal grants give extra funding to states in order for their law enforcement officers to increase DWI patrols in their communities and hopefully arrest a high number of drunk drivers. The Texas DPS (Department of Public Safety) was able to increase DWI patrols in the area from March 7 to March 23.
According to Amarillo Trooper Chris Ray, the majority of the traffic violations occurring during this time of year are actually from “travelers driving through Amarillo, but there have been some DWI arrests.” Trooper Ray also stated that a lot of Amarillo spring break traffic actually comes from the Dallas area, going through to Colorado and New Mexico. A lot of these spring breakers are planning ski trips.
I tend to think that the funding used for additional DWI patrols could be better spent in other areas. Although law enforcement is almost always able to publicize an “increased number of arrests” after additional DWI patrol funding has been granted, these arrests can often be a cause for concern. Often times, officers feel increased pressure to catch more drunk drivers after having been given a federal, state, or local grant. This can sometimes lead to officers making arrests that are not lawful. Meanwhile, the local police department can advertise that the increased DWI patrols were successful and that the grant was justified.
If you have been charged with your first DWI in Dallas, Tarrant, Corsicana, or Collin County, you are facing some substantial penalties. If convicted, a first DWI in Texas means approximately $2,000 in fines, a jail sentence of 3 to 180 days, a license suspension for up to 2 years, alcohol/DWI education classes, community service, as well as an annual surcharge to keep your driver’s license.
Meanwhile, a second DWI charge in Dallas, Tarrant, Corsicana, or Collin County can lead to a fine for as much as $4,000, a jail sentence of 1 month to 1 year, up to 2 years of license suspension, an annual surcharge to keep your license, community service, and alcohol/DWI education classes. You will likely also be sentenced to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle. This device requires the driver to provide a breath sample in order to prove that the driver has not been drinking before the car will start.
If you have been charged with DWI or other alcohol-related crimes in Dallas, Tarrant Collin, or Corsicana County, contact my office at 214-741-4000. It’s important to work with a defense lawyer you can trust. Call us today and we can schedule a consultation.