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Holiday Cheer and DWI

The local police departments have beefed up their efforts to make DWI arrests over the holidays.  It is very obvious when one drives around and sees the number of police officers that are on patrol during the Thanksgiving season.  Historically, people typically drink more alcohol during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays than they do in the remainder of the year.  Not only on Thanksgiving Day, but also on the days immediately following Thanksgiving there is much celebration throughout North Texas.  It is a wonderful time of the year, but a police officer can absolutely ruin it whenever they arrest someone who has had a few drinks.   

Drinking and driving is not against the law in Texas.  However, if someone becomes intoxicated and then operates a motor vehicle while they are intoxicated, then that is against the law.  A police officer only has to have probable cause in order to make an arrest believing someone is intoxicated.  That is an extremely low standard.

However, the prosecution must prove at trial that the individual was intoxicated at the time they were driving. It is okay to become intoxicated before you drive and as long as you are not intoxicated while you are driving then you have not violated Texas DWI Laws. 

Similarly, it is okay to have a few drinks and then as long as you are not intoxicated while you are driving but then become intoxicated after you have driven, then that also is not against the law. 

The second example above is more difficult to understand if you have never studied how alcohol is processed through the body.  Whenever alcohol is consumed, your blood alcohol concentration level can remain well below the legal limit for up to an hour and a half and then be above the legal limit an hour and a half after you have consumed the alcohol.  That is called the Rate of Absorption Theory. 

Similarly, your body eliminates alcohol at about an average of one drink per hour. 

While it is typically best for a citizen accused of DWI not to provide a blood or breath specimen, just because they did so and provided a specimen that was above the legal limit does not necessarily mean that they are going to be convicted at trial.  That is why it is important to aggressively defend each DWI case.  Also, another reason that it is important to aggressively defend each DWI case is a conviction can be extremely expensive.  If convicted, then a defendant will have to pay a minimum of $1,000.00 every year for three years as an administrative surcharge. The defendant will also have to pay up to a $2,000.00 fine and may serve up to 180 days confinement in the county jail facility for the first offense.  If placed on probation, then there are expensive probation fees, expensive classes, and time consuming community service. The community service for a first offense can be up to 100 hours.      

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