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Do Texans Want a Zero-Tolerance DWI Policy?

Hand rejecting alcoholic beer beverage

Survey results point to significant support, but what does that mean for your legal rights?

Despite the significant jail time, fines, and loss of license, there are many people in Texas who believe the state's DWI laws don't go far enough.

A new national survey asked more than 3,000 people if they would support "zero-tolerance" policies for drinking while intoxicated (DWI). In Texas, 43 percent of respondents say they are in favor of such a rule.

Zero-tolerance DWI or DUI (driving under the influence) charges are usually applied only to minors who are too young to legally drink alcohol. The rule would mean that the discovery of any alcohol in a driver's system is grounds for arrest.

Right now, the federal legal limit is 0.08 percent BAC (blood alcohol content). If it were reduced to 0 percent, then even drinking a small amount of alcohol an hour before driving could be considered DWI. With zero tolerance, it's even possible that using mouth wash - which is usually 14 to 27 percent alcohol -  before getting behind the wheel could be considered DWI.

DWI survey results

The survey, conducted by American Addiction Centers, polled public opinion on additional drinking-and-driving related questions. Other key findings include:

  • Nationwide, about 28 percent of people believe it is worse to use a cell phone while driving than it is to drive under the influence of alcohol.
  • 1 out of every 4 people say they would report a friend or family member who drives drunk.
  • More than 65 percent of survey respondents say drunk driving penalties are not harsh enough.

Texas DWI penalties

State-level data is not available for the DUI-penalty survey question. It would be interesting to see how Texans answered, though. Our state already has some of the harshest penalties in the country.

In Texas, a first offense DWI can lead to months in jail, thousands of dollars in fines, and loss of your driver's license for up to one year.

If convicted of a third offense (or more), the penalty may include up to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

Punishment often doesn't end after someone completes their sentence, either. Frequently, a DWI on a person's record can stop them from getting certain jobs, professional licenses, loans, and admission to educational programs.

Montgomery County DWI arrests

Montgomery County, in particular, is aggressive about charging people with DWI. An early-April check of the Montgomery County Jail Current Inmate List revealed more than 70 people imprisoned on DWI unresolved charges and convictions.

The specific drinking-and-driving-related charges on the roster include:

  • Driving while intoxicated (DWI) - third (or more) offense
  • Intoxicated manslaughter
  • Driving while intoxicated with children in the vehicle
  • Driving while intoxicated/open alcohol container
  • Driving while intoxicated with a BAC over 0.15 percent

Many people on the roster are in for more than a DWI charge. Additional charges included allegations of drug possession, evading arrest, unlicensed possession of a firearm, harassment of a public servant, resisting arrest, assault, and theft.

Contact a Texas DWI Lawyer today or a free and confidential case evaluation

There is a lot on the line for people facing DWI in the greater Houston area. If the state were to adopt a zero-tolerance policy for adults, it would almost certainly result in some people's lives being ruined.

When facing drunk driving charges in Texas, it is important to have an experienced DWI attorney fighting to protect your freedom. Amanda Webb - DWI Lawyer has been successfully defending clients against criminal charges for years. A former Montgomery County assistant district attorney, Attorney Webb has an insider's knowledge of how the local criminal justice system works. She knows the DA's tactics and how to defend people against them.

If you are facing DWI charges in the greater Houston area or elsewhere in Montgomery County, contact Amanda Webb - DWI Lawyer for a free case evaluation. At no cost to you, a member of our team will answer your questions, explain the charges and penalties you face, and help you weigh your legal options.

Do not wait. The sooner you call, the sooner we can start protecting your rights and your freedom. Contact us at our Conroe-based law firm today to schedule your free case evaluation. We are ready to hear from you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.