What are you going to be for Halloween?
As the weather starts to cool in Texas (finally!), it’s time to start planning for the spookiest night of the year. If you’re like a lot of adults – and teens – there’s a good chance you’ve got a party to go to. And that there will be alcohol at this party.
Sounds like fun – but have you thought about how you’re getting home? Or how your guests will?
Over half of all households that hold Halloween parties plan on having alcohol at their gatherings. If guests who imbibe decide to drive home afterward, they might find themselves facing serious consequences. Driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas is a serious charge, and there are more DWIs given out on Halloween than other weekends in October.
Know the dangers of driving drunk on Halloween. Having a few drinks and then getting behind the wheel of a car could put your life at risk, and the lives of others in serious danger.
The Stats Say It All: Halloween Has A Higher Rate of Drunk Drivers
There are higher rates of DWI arrests during Halloween because, let’s face it, there are more drunk drivers on the road.
Halloween also brings out more children. Children who want to run across the road to get candy from every house in the neighborhood.
As you can imagine, this is not just a dangerous combination. It’s a deadly one. Children are two times more likely to be killed by a car if they are walking across roads on Halloween night.
It’s likely that many of these drivers are intoxicated. Almost half (45%) of all traffic fatalities on Halloween involve a drunk driver.
It’s not just children, teenagers, or crazy college students who are at risk, either. In 2011, half of all drunk drivers who were killed on Halloween were men between the ages of 21 and 34.
Law enforcement officers are well aware of these stats. So they ramp up the amount of surveillance that they send out during Halloween. With more police out on Texas roads, more people are likely to get pulled over and arrested for driving under the influence.
Do I Have to Worry About DWI Checkpoints in Texas?
DWI checkpoints are considered “unconstitutional” in Texas. That being said, law enforcement has been known to set up variations of mandatory stops to check for drunk drivers.
While the legality of these stops can be questioned – and cases have been won on this basis – you still need to know about them and beware. Moreover, Texas law enforcement officers will still be able to pull you over if they suspect that you are driving under the influence.
Any of the following clues could give them a reason to ask you a few questions:
- Excessive speeding
- Excessive swerving
- Wide right turns
- Failing to use turn signals
- Failing to use proper headlights
Once law enforcement officers have sufficient reason to pull you over, they may ask you to submit to a chemical test. If you fail that test, you may face an arrest, DWI charges, and all of the consequences that come with a conviction.
About Texas DWI Laws
Don’t become the next person in Texas to have a DWI on their record. DWIs in Texas can end up costing you thousands of dollars, and you may also lose your license – or your job.
The blood alcohol content limit in Texas is consistent with the rest of the country – if you blow a .08 or above, you’re going to end up in handcuffs. (Commercial drivers must stay under a .04 BAC in Texas.) Drivers who blow a .15 BAC may face additional penalties.
If law enforcement officers suspect you of driving drunk and you refuse to take a chemical test, your license may be suspended for 180 days.
Even if you have never been convicted of a DWI in the past, penalties may include:
- Up to $2,000 in fines
- 6-180 days behind bars
- License suspension of 90 days-1 year
- Thousands of dollars in fees to retain your driver’s license
How Much Can Texans Drink Before Reaching a .08 BAC?
It’s hard to say when you will reach a .08 BAC. The number of drinks consumed obviously impacts blood alcohol content, but so do the following factors:
- Weight, height, and other biological factors
- How much food is in your stomach
- How quickly you drink and how much time has passed since your last drink
- Presence of prescription medication in your body
For some people, just two or three drinks can put you over the edge.
Stay Safe This Halloween
If you are worried that you might be too drunk to drive, call a rideshare. Ask your sober friend to give you a ride home. Pay the extra money for overnight parking or a ride to and from the party.
Adults spend around $85 each Halloween. Adults who are caught driving while intoxicated pay upwards of $10,000.
Stay off the roads if you want to drink on Halloween. The penalties of a DWI are too high to risk your career and your freedom for just a beer or two.
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.