The winter holidays are known for increased DWI patrols in Texas, but police departments throughout the state also focus on the football playoff season to arrest drunk drivers.
The reasons are fairly clear: last year 10,676 alcohol-related crashes happened during football season in Texas, and 492 people lost their lives. That number represents a 7-percent increase from the previous year.
The Texas Department of Transportation's "Plan While You Can" campaign is underway to remind football fans not to drive drunk.
TxDOT's campaign runs through Feb. 7 -- Super Bowl Sunday -- and drivers can expect their local police departments and state troopers to be on the lookout for impaired driving.
To prevent a good time at a game-watching party from turning into a night in jail (or worse), TxDOT is reminding people to take a few precautions:
- Arrange for a sober ride from a friend or family member
- Call a taxi or contact a ride-sharing service if one is available
- Use public transit if available
- Avoid driving and stay where you are
Even a first-time DWI conviction can have a serious impact on your future.
In Texas, the stakes are high in DWI cases. If convicted of a first-time offense, a person could face between three and 180 days in jail; a fine of up to $2,000; driver's license suspension up to a year; and collateral problems such as loss of employment and a permanent criminal record.
Texas also imposes ignition interlock devices, which we discussed more in-depth in a previous post.
If you find yourself facing a DWI charge of any kind, then don't hesitate to explain your situation to a DWI defense attorney. Many people make the mistake of assuming that their only choice is to accept a conviction and the resulting penalties, but that isn't always necessary.
For more on safeguarding the rights of defendants accused of drunk driving, please see Nix | Poet's DWI defense overview.