The organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving released a report on the effectiveness of interlock breathalyzers, and the results look good. According to their findings, Texas leads the nation in prevented drunk driving episodes because of the interlock system, and now these results are causing legislators to consider further legislation regarding the system. The report was not specific to Texas, but was meant as a comprehensive compilation of data over ten years.
According to the report, in the last ten years, Texas led the nation with 244,991 prevented episodes of drunk driving. The next closest was Wisconsin with 211,972. The District of Columbia had the least amount of trips prevented with 60, and the rest the states varied widely.
Texas Law on Interlock Systems
It was not until last year that the Texas government passed laws allowing DWI convicts with a BAC of less than .15 to install an interlock system to continue on the road. Before last year, a driver had to accept a license suspension to get a interlock system. The results were impressive, and could be a step in the right direction to prevent drunk driving in the future.
As a result of this report and the success of the interlock system, Texas lawmakers are proposing ways to further involve interlock systems for those convicted of DWI. Prosecutors across the state are working to make it an option for first time DWI convicts to defer adjudication of the DWI if they agree to use an interlock system. This could be a boon for first time offenders who do not have problem with drinking, but made the wrong decision to drink and drive.
Reforms like these can be helpful to those facing DWI charges because they work on actually resolving a problem instead of punishing someone for bad decisions. This route of fixing instead of punishing is all but missing from our criminal justice system, and it is refreshing to see lawmakers focusing on it. As we often discuss on this blog, too often politicians play politics with criminal reforms to look tough, and DWI is a favorite target of theirs.
Rights Exist as Protections
When the criminal justice system seems out for vengeance or punishment, it is important to protect defendants’ rights against the state’s abuse of power. In fact, under our constitutional system of governing, the government and state are more restricted in what they can do by the law than empowered to act. Ours is a system in which the government is under a constant check by the law and all state action is examined by the lense of constitutional principles.
When a police officer, prosecutor, or other state official crosses the line in any way, it is up to the defense to call them out on it and make it right. That is one of the essential jobs of any defense attorney, and especially of attorneys defending those accused of DWI. That is what we do at the Wilder DWI Defense Firm, and we would like to do it for you. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.
(image courtesy of Brendan Church)