Just as in past years citizens should expect to see more officer’s out during this year’s holiday season specifically targeting intoxicated drivers. There will be a concerted effort by different police agencies to specifically target drivers who are suspected of driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence.
Statewide stepped up enforcement efforts where announced by The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) yesterday for essentially the remaining portion of this year. [Press Release] Efforts by the DPS last year seem to have been frutiful as they made nearly 1,500 arrests during the 2014 holiday season in part to their stepped up efforts during the holiday season last year. [Press Release]
Stepped up enforcement efforts can also have potentially negative effects because officer’s tend to be more inclined to presume intoxication because that is what they are being paid specifically to do and are wholly focused on making a DWI/DUI arrest of every suspect they may stop who has been drinking. It seems like some officers are under the false impression that anyone drinking and then driving is committing an offense; which is simply not the law in Texas. Consuming alcohol and then driving a vehicle is not in and of itself illegal (unless you are a minor under 21) — you must be intoxicated and driving for it to be a crime. In many cases officer’s conclude intoxication without conducting a proper through driving while intoxicated investigation.
The best thing to do this holiday season is to not drink and then drive at all, so that there is no possibility of having your liberty put in jeopardy based on a single police officers opinion of you. If you do find yourself stopped after drinking remember you have the absolute right to refuse ALL tests, this includes the field sobriety tests officers may ask you to perform on the side of the road. Officers are trained to persuade drivers to take the standardized field sobriety tests (SFST’s). If an officer is asking you to follow his finger, you are already starting to take a field sobriety test, respectfully decline to take the officer’s tests.
If you find yourself being stopped by the police, remember 3 important things: (1) always be polite and respectful, (2) politely refuse to take the roadside tests or any other tests offered (usually a breath or blood test) regardlessof the officers threats, and finally (3) remember that any thing you say and/or do will almost always be used against you later in a court of law.
We wish everyone a safe and joyous holiday season. If you or a family member, friend or loved one has been arrested and charged with DWI, please contact Attorney Matthew Gallagher as soon as possible. Attorney Matthew Gallagher is an experienced and aggressive DWI defense lawyer in Houston, he is committed to justice and fighting for the rights of the accused. For a free consultation, call us at (713) 807-8000 or use our online form.