Facts and Falsehoods about DUI’s
Driving while intoxicated and/or driving under the influence are such contentious topics that it has led to numerous misconceptions on the part of the public – which only further complicates reasonable discourse and long-range solutions. Unfortunately, groups representing all sides of the drinking and driving argument tend to refer to misinformation as a basis for their point of view – and when this is found to be false only strengthens the other side’s position. Consider the following facts and falsehoods about DWI and DUI and if you have recently been arrested for a DWI, call our Houston drunk driving lawyers now for a free consultation.
- When drunk driving fatalities are compiled annually they include any accident in which drinking was considered a factor – even if the driver has had no alcohol whatsoever. That means that if a bike rider or pedestrian is intoxicated and moves into the path of a vehicle that results in the death of anyone then this figure is added to the drunk driving statistics. Unfortunately, this then paints a false picture – increasing the numbers in such a way as to make it appear that drunk drivers are the perpetrators of these deaths.
- A second untruth is that both field sobriety tests and breath analyzers are excellent indicators of a person’s level of intoxication. Time and again the results have been proven invalid and the reliability of these tools has been shown to be questionable instead. Blood alcohol tests in which a person’s blood is actually drawn and then sent to a lab for examination are riddled with problems as well.
- Too, if you were to believe the government experts and anti-drinking and driving organizations intoxicated drivers account for nearly half of all highway deaths – a figure that would rile even the most laid-back American. However, a closer look at the data would reveal this to be a false claim. Instead, one need only consider the amount of federal and state funding and donations that filter through anti-drinking and driving groups to better understand the reason for these (outlandish) claims. This money keeps people employed (and otherwise lines people’s pockets) while preventing the average American from realizing that intoxicated drivers account for a much smaller number of vehicle fatalities annually – the number coming in at a much lower ten percent of all deaths. Certainly, that is not to excuse the behavior – but we must start from a point of realism in order to create viable solutions.
- Finally, it is simply not true that a single drink will cause every driver to become intoxicated – and lead to impaired driving. Every individual has a different physiological response to alcohol and it is your responsibility to know if you have had too much to drink. If so, make the adult choice to find an alternative way to get home. This may mean that you rely on a sober friend for a ride or call a taxi and return for your vehicle the following day. In so doing you are ensuring that you are not part of the problem – but have become a part of the solution instead.
Open Alcohol Container and DUI
- DWI with an open alcohol container (first offense): In addition to the penalty referenced above you face a minimum 6 days in jail and a fine of no more than $2,000.00. (Class B Misdemeanor).
DWI With an Accident
- DWI with an accident where serious bodily injury occurred as a proximate cause of the intoxication: this crime is called intoxication assault, and upon conviction you may serve a minimum of 2 years up to a maximum of 10 years in jail. Additionally, you may be fined up to $10,000.00. (3 rd Degree Felony).
DUI Involving Death
- DWI where a death has occurred as a proximate cause of the intoxication: here, the crime is intoxication manslaughter. Upon conviction you might have to pay a maximum fine of $10,000.00 and/or be imprisoned from 2 to 20 years (Intoxicated Manslaughter or Manslaughter with use of Deadly Weapon are both 2nd Degree Felonies).
DWI With a Child Passenger
- DWI with a child passenger: A person commits a state jail felony if they drive while intoxicated and there is another person in the vehicle who is under 15 years of age. `Punishment for a non-enhanced state jail felony is by confinement in a state jail for any term of not more than 2 years or less than 180 days and a fine not to exceed $10,000.00.
- In most DWI cases you will receive probation, but there is no guarantee that you will receive a probated jail sentence or fine. If you are convicted of intoxication assault and wish to receive probation, a minimum of 30 days in jail must be served as a condition of probation. If you are convicted of intoxication manslaughter you must serve a minimum of 120 days in jail. If you are convicted of Intoxication Assault or Intoxication Manslaughter and the court or jury finds that you committed the offense with a deadly weapon you may not be eligible to receive probation at all.
Zero Tolerance for Minors
- Minors can be cited for violating Texas law if they are caught purchasing, attempting to purchase, possessing or consuming alcoholic beverages. Further, minors who consume any amount of alcohol and then drive a motor vehicle can be arrested or ticketed for illegal activity even where the minor is driving without being intoxicated. A person under 21 arrested for DWI will be treated differently mostly in regard to their driver license. Driver license restrictions and suspensions are more severe for a person under 21 arrested and convicted of DWI. A person who is under 21 will have a one-year suspension period even if they receive probation for a DWI. Thus, they may need a restricted driver license for one year.
- Texas is considered a zero-tolerance state regarding minors and DWI. For DWIs, a minor is considered anyone under the age of 21. Remember, any amount of alcohol is considered grounds for a DWI. For your first time offense alone, you can expect to receive a license suspension for up to one year, up to $500 in fines, a 12-hour long alcohol education program, and the possibility for 90 days community service.
- Even non-driving related alcohol offenses can affect your driving privileges as a minor. Acts like attempting to buy alcohol underage, having a fake ID, and public intoxication can result in license suspension of up to 30 days for your first offense, 60 for your second, and 180 for your third.
Other circumstances can also affect your maximum penalties. If you were driving with a child passenger, for example, you’ll automatically face $10,000 in fines, up to 180 days of license suspension, and two years in jail. Furthermore, if someone is gravely injured because you were operating a vehicle while intoxicated, you may be charged with intoxicated assault or intoxicated manslaughter, which is a second-degree felony. Contact the Houston defense attorneys today at the Law Office of David A. Breston. DWI cases are highly complex, David Breston employs strategic and creative strategies to represent his clients.
5 DWI/DUI Facts and Statistics
Reviewing the stats on automobile accidents, personal injuries, and deaths that driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI) cause puts this national epidemic into perspective. Organizations such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) spend millions of dollars retrieving and analyzing crash data every year. The goal of these efforts is to educate the public on common health issues, raise awareness of unsafe driving practices, and hopefully prevent future accidents.
Drunk Drivers Hit the Roads More Than 300,000 Times Each Day
According to arrest data gathered by the FBI, while people drive drunk more than 300,000 times each day, police arrest only about 3,200. This disparity is due to the number of drivers who do not get caught driving drunk, or who “get away with it.” About one-third of all drivers convicted or arrested for drunk driving are repeat offenders.
An average drunk driver has driven under the influence more than 80 times before his or her first arrest. Of drunk drivers convicted of the crime, 50% to 75% continue to drive illegally on a suspended license. Drivers caught with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08% or higher in fatal crashes were seven times more likely to have a prior DUI conviction than drivers with no BAC level in 2012. This points to a significant problem with repeat offenders who are likely addicted to drugs and alcohol.
Males Arrested Three Times More Often Than Females
In 2014, police arrested three times as many males for drunk driving as they did females. While there were 401,904 male drivers arrested, there were only 130,480 female DWI drivers arrested. Age matters as well: the highest percentage of drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2014 was 21 to 24 years old (30%), followed by people 25 to 34 years old (29%) and then 35 to 44 years old (24%). The year before, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found the highest rate of drunk driving to be among 26 to 29 year olds (20.7%).
Someone Dies in a Drunk Driving Crash Every 51 Minutes
In America, someone dies in a drunk driving crash every 51 minutes. That is the equivalent of 27 people every day. The number of injuries from drunk driving crashes is much higher—about one person every two minutes. About one-third of all traffic accidents resulting in teenager death involved alcohol or drugs. Statistics show that children who partake in drugs and alcohol at a young age are seven times more likely to be involved in an alcohol-related car accident at some point in their lives.
Almost 50% of Drivers Who Tested Positive for Drugs Also Drank Alcohol
Almost half of all drivers killed in accidents who tested positive for drugs also had a BAC level. In 2014, police arrested more than 1.1 million people for driving while intoxicated with alcohol or narcotics. In 2013, 28.7 million people—greater than the population of Texas—admitted to driving under the influence.
If you were arrested for possession of marijuana in Houston or possession of any illegal substances — call the drug crimes lawyers at the Law Offices of David A. Breston today for a free and confidential consultation.
Drunk Driving Costs the United States $199 Billion Per Year
According to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Report to the Nation in 2011, the cost of drunk driving in America equaled about $132 billion per year. This number rose to $199 billion per year by 2014, according to the NHTSA. These costs to the United States include health care for injured victims, young lives lost prematurely, and insurance expenses. Federal revenues pay for about 6% of these costs, while state and local governments pay for about 3%. The rest is split between private insurers, crash victims, and third parties.
DUI Arrests in Texas (2010-2016)
Data released by the Texas Department of Public Safety shows there has been a steady decrease in the amounts of DUI arrests in Texas. Of the 62,327 people arrested in Texas in 2016 for a DUI, only 0.2 % were juveniles and 77.7 % were males. 87.6% of arrests were of White descent and 10.5% were Black. According to the department, the remainder of races 53.1 % were not Hispanic and 46.9 % were Hispanic. The age group with the highest number of DWI’s were the 25 to 29 year-old group.