We all know that some holidays result in more DWI arrests than others. New Year’s, Thanksgiving, and Fourth of July are just three of the notorious holidays that result in extra law enforcement vigilance.
What you might not know is that one of these “drinking and driving” holidays is creeping up on us right now. That’s right – while Halloween is not well-known as being a big night for Texas DWIs, the statistics show otherwise. In fact…
Halloween May Be More Dangerous Than New Year’s Eve
Halloween is known as a night where kids go trick-or-treating through the neighborhood and adults head to parties and let loose in costumes. It’s probably not surprising that with more people out on the roads, there is a higher chance of pedestrian accidents. You can’t just blame excited kids or distracted parents, though – statistics show that a lot of these accidents occur because of drunk drivers behind the wheel.
Specifically, between the years of 2009-2013, drunk drivers caused 43% of Halloween vehicle deaths in Parkland, Texas. That’s higher than the numbers for New Year’s Eve, which is typically one of the most notorious times for drinking and driving.
The numbers are even scarier when you look at the nation as a whole. From 2007-2011, over half (52%) of all deaths on Halloween night were due to drunk driving.
Law enforcement is well aware of these statistics. They also know that DWI stops and arrests can prevent these deaths from reaching higher numbers, so more police are typically out on the road to watch for intoxicated drivers.
Halloween is on a Wednesday this year, but danger still lurks. Parties and bar crawls may occur the weekend before or after Halloween. Do not be surprised if you hear that law enforcement is out and about as early as October 26.
If you plan on drinking that weekend, stay off the road. The penalties for DWI in Texas are just too scary. See for yourself.
Penalties for Texas DWI
Jail time or heavy fines aren’t just scary stories. These are common penalties for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas. After all, DWI is a class B misdemeanor.
According to Texas law, a person who is convicted driving while intoxicated may face the following penalties:
- A minimum of 72 hours (three days) in confinement
- Up to 180 days in jail
- Loss of driving privilege for up to 12 months
- Up to $2,000 in fines
Oh, and those fines are just the beginning of the monetary costs of a DWI. In addition to the basic $2,000 in fines, Texas may charge additional annual fees of $2,000 to retain your driver’s license. The costs of not being able to drive may add up in the form of public transportation, rideshares, or loss of income. Insurance rates may also skyrocket if your insurance provider charges extra for being in an accident or having a record. By the time you pay off all of the penalties for your DWI, you may find yourself out more than $10,000.
Additional DWI Penalties in Texas
Aggravating factors can add more penalties to your sentence. If any of the following elements are present in your case, you might have extra reasons to call a defense lawyer:
- Presence of an Open Container: If law enforcement officials find an open beer can or other alcohol container in your car when you are pulled over, the penalties are increased. The crime is still a Class B misdemeanor, but confinement time is doubled (you can be held for a minimum of six days.)
- High Blood Alcohol Content (BAC): If your blood alcohol content is .08, you can be arrested for DWI. If your blood alcohol content is above .15, the charges are increased. The DWI becomes a Class A misdemeanor.
- Previous Convictions: A second DWI is penalized more heavily than a first. If you are convicted of a second DWI, you could face up to one year in jail, two years without a license, and up to $4,000 in fines plus fees to recover your license.
These are just some of the aggravating factors that may affect your case.
Don’t Give in to a Texas DWI
Planning on going to a Halloween party this year? Plan ahead. Arrange for a sober driver to pick you up and drop you off, or make alternative arrangements so you do not have to drive until you sober up in the morning. Even a rideshare that adds up to three digits is less expensive than the cost of a DWI in Texas.
If you are arrested, remember that an arrest is not a conviction. Even if you blow above a .08, you may be able to walk away without a conviction or penalties. There are defense strategies you can use to fight back against this type of evidence. A Texas DWI lawyer can help you find the right strategy to get you the best deal for your case.
Think DWI penalties are scary? They are. However, if you find yourself facing them after the holiday this year, do not simply accept them. Protect your rights and your future by putting together the strongest defense possible.
About the Author:
After getting his Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center, Jeff Hampton began practicing criminal law in Texas in 2005. Before becoming a defense attorney, he worked as a prosecutor for the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office – experience he uses to anticipate and cast doubt on the arguments that will be used against his clients. Over the course of his career, he has helped countless Texans protect their rights and get the best possible outcome in their criminal cases. His skill has earned him recognition from the National Trial Lawyers (Top 100 Trial Lawyers) and Avvo (Top Attorney in Criminal Defense, Top Attorney in DUI & DWI, 10/10 Superb Rating), and he is Lead Counsel rated.