To coincide with what many believe is one of the busiest times of the year for drinking and driving, the Texas Department of Public Safety is planning on increasing DWI patrols, it announced at the beginning of March. The increased patrols will take place during spring break season, between March 7 and March 23. The patrols will reportedly focus on high-risk locations during periods of time when alcohol-related accidents are most likely to occur. The additional patrols are being funded through a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation.
Last year, DPS troopers took more than 1,000 people into custody during the increased patrols during the spring break season. Out of those, approximately 226 were attributed to the increase in patrols paid for by the grant. In addition, troopers issued 1,600 seat belt and child safety seat citations, 11,400 speeding tickets and approximately 12,000 other miscellaneous citations. Troopers also took 463 people into custody on felony charges and detained 552 alleged fugitives.
The DPS encourages drivers to take the several precautions for safe driving during spring break. Eliminating distractions will help drivers pay attention and stay safe on the road, they said. Such distractions include mobile phones and other electronic devices. Avoid driving while tired, they advised, and allow extra time to make trips. Individuals who do drink were urged to consider designating a sober driver or finding alternative transportation.
Despite one’s intentions, he or she may still face DWI charges after being stopped at a checkpoint. The state of Texas imposes severe penalties on individuals who are convicted of drinking and driving. Penalties for a DWI conviction might include prison time, fines, mandatory alcohol education program, restricted driving privileges, community service and probation. In the event that a driver is charged with DWI, a criminal defense attorney might explain available defense options and assist with preparations for trial.
If the charges are excessive compared with the circumstances or there are concerns regarding the validity of the state’s evidence, the attorney may recommend fighting the case in court. High-volume efforts on the part of law enforcement officers may result in a lack of thoroughness with their procedures or equipment not being regularly calibrated, both of which can be used to build a DWI defense.