Law enforcement from Austin to San Antonio and across the state have been cracking down on drunk driving over the Fourth of July holiday period. Starting June 28 and continuing in some cases until July 15, Sheriff's Offices and the crackdown includes enhanced DWI enforcement, extra attention to speeding and seat belt violations, and "no refusal" breath testing initiatives in some parts of the state.
The extra enforcement is part of a statewide initiative funded by the Texas Department of Public Safety and TDOT. It is also coordinated with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's annual drunk-driving prevention event.
According to the Travis County Sheriff's Office, additional deputies will be on the roads seeking out alcohol- and drug-impaired drivers through July 15. This is part of an Impaired Driving Mobilization grant-funded operation.
"Don't be a statistic!" the department urges. "Remember, 'buzzed driving' is drunk driving. If you drink, don't drive."
A spokesperson for the San Antonio police says that it put extra DWI officers on the roads starting July 3. They will also focus on seat belt enforcement and speeding.
During the 2017 Fourth of July enforcement season, San Antonio officers arrested 529 people for DWI. They also arrested 374 fugitives, charged 300 people with felonies and issued over 98,000 warnings and traffic citations.
In some parts of the state, "no refusal" initiatives were in effect. Drivers were still able to legally refuse a breath test, but extra officers were on hand to apply for blood test warrants in those cases.
All the extra enforcement this time of year will naturally result in more DWI arrests, along with citations for seat belt violations, speeding and other offenses. If you were caught in the dragnet, take a deep breath and try not to panic. This is a stressful time, but don't allow stress and uncertainty to prevent you from getting the help you need from an experienced and knowledgeable defense attorney.
A good defense attorney will advocate on your behalf, fighting to get the charges reduced, sealed or dismissed altogether. If that is not possible, they will work with you to determine your best defense strategy. Remember, Texas has some of the harshest DWI penalties in the nation. You owe it to yourself to hire quality counsel.