Recently, KHOU did a piece on the rise of DWI arrests in Harris County.
Perhaps the rise in DWI arrests is due to local law enforcement teams creating combined task forces to be on alert for potential intoxicated drivers and remove these drivers from the streets more aggressively than in years past.
According to DoSomething.org, on average a drunk driver will drive 80 times under the influence before their first arrest. Today, with services such as Uber and Lyft being reasonable options, the question remains why people still choose to drink and then drive with an alcohol blood content greater than the legal limit.
Oftentimes, we hear clients say, “I didn’t feel intoxicated” or “I was literally right around the corner from home” or “I was supposed to be the designated driver.” We also see many arrests arise from traffic violations relatively close to clients’ homes or final destinations. This may be because folks relax the closer they are to being home.
Many first time misdemeanor offenders who come to our office are eaten up with guilt, kicking themselves for being in this situation and full of shame. We try to help clients understand that first of all, everyone makes mistakes and secondly, we suggest they look at the positives such as they did not hurt someone else or themselves. The experience of first-time arrests like these are usually enough to get the attention of clients who have never been in trouble before and who do not struggle with alcoholism. It is this group of folks for which several District Attorney’s offices created a DWI Pretrial Intervention Program. This program allows first time offenders to perform an informal 12-month probation that results in a dismissal upon successful completion. The arrest can later be expunged from the client’s record.
We also have clients who struggle with the disease of alcoholism. Knowing that alcoholism affects both the body and the mind, we understand the internal battles our clients fight while making choices that land them in our office.
In the link above, KHOU interviews a man who says his DWI case was a wake up call for him. What the article does not tell us is that this man had prior DWI arrests, making this one a felony. What was different about this one that made it his “wake up call?” Surely it was not the breathalyzer that made a difference, as he would have probably had a breathalyzer during his second DWI case. However, we agree that breathalyzers on motor vehicles can be effective in deterring drunk driving. Maybe it was the fact that this man was looking at time in prison instead of county jail that caused the wake up call for this man; only he knows the answer to that question.
Whatever the reason may be for the increase in DWI cases in the greater Houston area, organizations and law enforcement continue to educate the public and put in place practices that will keep our community, our streets and our families safer. The rest is on the personal choices of each individual driver.
If you are arrested for Driving While Intoxicated, call JL. 713.201.6767.