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Will This Year’s Decrease in Texas DWI Arrests Change as Bars Reopen?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Tarrant County criminal defense attorney DWI

College Station, the home to Texas A&M University, has seen a significant decrease in the number of driving while intoxicated (DWI) arrests in the past year. As 2020 has been a unique year in the history of the United States, these reduced numbers may be attributed to the restrictions enacted on Texans since COVID-19 began to surge. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, more than 800 drivers across the state were killed in accidents involving DWI. While this number may not seem particularly significant in such a large state, it only accounts for those who were in fatal accidents, not those arrested or injured. If you are arrested for DWI, it is important to know the severity of the criminal charges that you may face and where to turn for legal guidance.

A Texas Town Considers the Implications of Reopening

In a KBTX news report from October 29, Police Officer Tristen Lopez from College Station, Texas notes an approximate 25 percent decrease in DWI arrests this past year. According to the report, College Station police have made 227 DWI-related arrests this year, compared to 303 arrests in 2019 by this same date. The same is true of DWI-related crashes in the area. COVID-19 restrictions in the state of Texas have left local bars closed for months in an attempt to reduce the spread of the virus. As of October 14, however, county governments were given the option of allowing their local bars to reopen at 50 percent capacity moving forward. Though these bars may reopen, they are still required to stop selling alcohol at 11 p.m.; the same is not true of restaurants, creating a gray area on which many bars and restaurants can tread. Officer Lopez connected the reduced DWI numbers to local bar closures and noted that the trend will likely change now that the bars have reopened. 

What Are the Associated Penalties?

DWI has historically been one of the leading causes of fatalities on Texas roadways, and as bars begin to reopen for the first time in months, customers may quickly become intoxicated before getting behind the wheel. Because DWI is a choice made by the driver, the more offenses that you have, the greater the penalties will be. For those being charged with their first DWI offense in Texas, they can face up to a $2,000 fine, 180 days in jail, and lose their driver’s license for up to one year. For those facing their second DWI offense, the fine increases to $4,000, they may spend between one month and one year in jail, and they can lose their driver’s license for up to two years. A third offense escalates even further, with a $10,000 fine, 2-10 years in prison, and the loss of their driver’s license for up to two years.

Contact a Plano, Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer

Because stay-at-home orders and statewide restrictions have reduced Texans’ ability to go out to bars, it is not unlikely that on your first night out, your tolerance level and capacity to determine your ability to drive is more highly impaired than usual. Police officers like those highlighted above are on high alert for this type of misconduct and will not hesitate to pull drivers over at the slightest hint of suspicion. The Crowder Law Firm, P.C. is well-equipped to defend your actions in a court of law. Attorney Darlina Crowder has secured over 250 acquittals and not-guilty verdicts for her clients during her 20-year career, and she is prepared to do so on your behalf as well. If you have been arrested for DWI, contact our qualified Collin County DWI defense attorney at 214-303-9600 to discuss the details of your case during your free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.txdot.gov/government/enforcement/annual-summary.html 

https://www.kbtx.com/2020/10/20/dwi-related-arrests-in-college-station-down-compared-to-this-time-last-year/

https://www.texastribune.org/2020/10/07/texas-bars-reopen-greg-abbott/

 

https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/division/traffic/safety/sober-safe/intoxication.html

 

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