The Texas DWI Statistics That Matter to You
We all think it’ll never happen to us— we’re too smart or too responsible to ever possibly end up facing a DWI charge. The cold hard DWI facts, however, tell a different story. In 2016, Houstonians racked up the second highest amount of DWI-related crashes (Dallas being #1) in the entire state of Texas with 1,492 (and those are just the ones we know about!). What’s more, Texas DWI statistics have previously placed our great city with the most drinking and driving deaths and the most alcohol-impaired fatalities nationwide. That’s a leaderboard no one should top.
While no one plans to get a DWI, it can happen to you for any number of reasons both fair and unfair. That’s why it’s important to know your DWI facts in Houston. These are the DWI facts, myths, and pointers that every Houstonian should know.
Fact #1: It’s Not Illegal To “Drink and Drive”
Yes, you read that correctly as a DWI fact. In the state of Texas, it is perfectly legal to have a beer, a shot, a mixed drink or anything in between before you drive, just so long as your blood alcohol concentration is below .08 and you haven’t lost your mental or physical faculties.
That distinction matters to both you and Texas DWI statistics because the science behind measuring intoxication in Texas is deeply flawed. Due to the phenomenon and effects of retrograde extrapolation, it is 100% possible for someone to be less intoxicated at the time of an accident or police encounter than they are by the time they’re tested. Alcohol has a delayed reaction when entering the bloodstream — meaning your body takes awhile to feel intoxicated after you’ve been drinking. This isn’t just a legal technicality either, it’s real science that’s used to win cases. Surprised? Keep reading for more unexpected DWI facts.
Fact #2. Every Day is No Refusal Weekend
As a citizen, it’s important to stay informed about the latest Texas DWI statistics and developments because outdated advice could endanger your freedom. You may have heard your college buddies warn you about No Refusal Weekends when cops could immediately take a blood sample if you refused a Breathalyzer. While there have been no major changes to Texas drinking laws in this area, law enforcement officials have radically shifted their day-to-day approach to drinking and driving. No Refusal Weekends used to be common during popular drinking holidays. Now, every day is treated like No Refusal Weekend in Harris County. Though this is newer among DWI facts, it could have a significant impact on your case. If you are pulled over on suspicion of DWI, a cop does not have to take you to the station in order to test your blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
Fact #3. What You Should Do When You Get Pulled Over
“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” This Mark Twain quote perfectly introduces one of the most important DWI facts you should remember. In the old days, the smart thing to do when pulled over on suspicion of DWI in Houston was to refuse the Breathalyzer and wait to be tested at your station. You may have even seen billboards or koozies with do not blow plastered on it. It used to be a solid approach, but that is no longer the case in Houston. Because cops treat every day like a No Refusal Weekend, refusing a Breathalyzer will simply result in a blood test more-or-less on the spot.
Juries love blood test results—breath tests, not so much. If you find yourself accused of DWI on the side of the road, take the Breathalyzer and let your Houston DWI attorney worry about the results later. It may mean a trip to jail, but ultimately any breath result will be more beneficial to your case than a blood test result. For more detail on this, you can familiarize yourself further with deciding between a blood test vs. a breathalyzer.
Fact #4. DWI Punishments in Harris County
You don’t need to be an expert in DWI facts to know a DWI conviction can mess up your life with pretty bad consequences. However, DWI on its own is not considered a felony and rarely comes with jail time. In order for a DWI to be considered a felony, you need to have either injured someone, killed someone, been on your third DWI charge, or have a child under 15 in the vehicle. Simply being pulled over and charged with DWI will hit you with a Class B Misdemeanor (Class A if your BAC was .15 or above).
That said, here are a few notable DWI penalties—even if it’s just a misdemeanor—to help inspire you not to be another Texas DWI statistic.
- Suspension of your driver’s license
- Mandatory installation of an interlock device
- Mandatory drug and alcohol courses
- Community service
- Up to a $2,000 fine
- Jail time in some instances
Fact #5. Strong Legal Defense Is Key
Beating a DWI in court requires a strong understanding of science and the legal system. Without one or the other, the odds of beating your case are slim to none—especially if you choose to represent yourself. Whether you need a Pearland DWI attorney or DWI defense anywhere else in Harris County, there’s a clear choice to protect your freedom.
For fierce DWI representation in Houston, Texas, look no further than Mark Thiessen and the team at Thiessen Law Firm. As a Lawyer-Scientist and a 5-time Super Lawyer, Mark Thiessen possess both the knowledge and experience to beat even the most complicated DWI cases, even those with blood test results entered into evidence. Get first-hand DWI facts and advice from Mark himself in our free eBook!
Need help fighting your case? Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
Want to learn more about DWI facts and Texas criminal defense? Here are some posts our clients have found interesting:
- Traveling with a DUI conviction
- What is the difference between a DUI and DWI in Texas?
- First Time DWI in Texas and DWI Expungement
- 2nd DWI in Texas: What to Do?
- Is Dumpster Diving Illegal in Texas?
- Illegal Traffic Stops: What You Need to Know