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Posted on in DWI / DUI

Safe Driving Tips After Your First DWIWhen you have regained your driving privileges after a charge of driving while intoxicated, you must reassess your driving habits that led to the initial arrest. Most DWI arrests occur because drivers commit traffic violations or are involved in accidents. Once a police officer suspects you may be impaired, you are at risk of being charged with DWI. Avoiding drinking and driving is the most important step you can take to prevent a DWI arrest. However, there are other driving tips that will keep you safe and help you avoid police attention.

Being Aware of Impairment

There are conditions other than intoxication that can impair your driving skills. You may be sick, emotionally upset or experiencing an adverse side effect from a medication. However, the most common driving impairment is drowsiness. Whether due to lack of sleep or overworking yourself, being tired slows down the mental responsiveness you need to be a safe driver. Police can also confuse the symptoms of drowsiness with the symptoms of intoxication. To avoid impaired driving, you should:

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BAC Results May Not Prove Innocence in DWI ArrestTexas drivers should be familiar with the number 0.08. That is the blood alcohol concentration level at which someone is considered legally intoxicated. A breath or blood test result of 0.08 or higher will lead to an arrest and charge of driving while intoxicated. However, having a BAC that is less than the legal limit does not preclude a driver from a DWI charge. Texas police officers have the discretion to decide that a driver was legally impaired by an intoxicating substance, even if medical records do not prove it.

Legal Definition

The Texas Penal Code states that police officers can identify intoxication in one of two circumstances:

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Country Star Travis Unable to Stop DWI Video from Becoming PublicA federal court recently denied country music singer Randy Travis’ request to prevent the release of a dashboard camera video from his 2012 arrest for driving while intoxicated. The video shows a disoriented and naked Travis ranting to police officers, which Travis claims may have been the result of mixing alcohol with prescription medication. Travis plead guilty to DWI, but he asked the Texas Attorney General’s office to withhold the video because of its embarrassing nature. The Texas Attorney General’s office ruled that it would allow an edited version of the video to be released. Travis filed a lawsuit to prevent the video’s release, but Texas district and appellate courts both ruled against him. The Texas Supreme Court refused to hear the case, which led to the federal lawsuit. The issue shows how the public’s right to information can be at odds with a defendant’s privacy.

Case Background

The Texas Department of Public Safety received several Public Information Act requests for the video footage of Travis’ DWI arrest. Such requests are common in incidents involving celebrities, particularly when the video is potentially salacious and embarrassing. The Texas Attorney General’s office ruled that the video should be withheld while the case was ongoing. After Travis’ guilty plea, the office said that the video could be released, with redactions for:

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Posted on in DWI / DUI

Why Female DWI Arrests Have IncreasedWhen it comes to arrests for driving while intoxicated, men far outpace women. According to a Texas Department of Public Safety report, 48,332 men were arrested in 2016 for DWI, as opposed to 13,384 women. Annual arrest totals for each gender have decreased by an almost identical percentage since 2012. Looking further back at DWI statistics showed a different trend between genders. Since 1999:

  • The number of male DWI arrests in Texas has decreased by 40 percent; and
  • The number of female DWI arrests in Texas has increased by 12 percent.

To be fair, the lowest male arrest total for one year since 1999 is still more than twice as much as the highest female arrest total. Because of the lower number of female arrests, small fluctuations will appear as higher percentage changes. However, the data correlates with an even longer trend of female DWI arrests increasing from previous generations. There are several societal changes that may explain the increase:

  1. Women Drinking More: Previous generations were more likely to look down upon women who drank to excess in the same manner as men. Expectations have changed for how women may imbibe in social settings. With increased career responsibilities, women may also feel the need to drink in order to relieve stress or fit in with their co-workers. Unfortunately, many women are physiologically at greater risk of becoming intoxicated than men, even if they drink the same amount or are the same weight. The reason has to do with how their bodies process alcohol and the percentage of fat and water that make up their bodies.
  2. Women Driving More: When women in previous generations went out to drink, they were often in the company of a man, who was responsible for the driving. Now, women are more likely to drive themselves to social outings. This naturally increases the chance that a woman will be stopped on suspicion of DWI.
  3. Police Treatment: Instead of their being more intoxicated woman drivers than before, it is possible that more women are being arrested. Police officers in previous generations, most of whom were male, may have let many female drivers off with a warning. While beneficial to the women, it also reflected a lack of respect for female drivers as adults who could make responsible decisions. Modern police officers, who include an increasing number of women, may be trying to hold female drivers accountable.

DWI Defense

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Can You Be Charged for DWI While Riding a Horse?A woman in Florida was recently charged with driving under the influence of alcohol for riding her horse near a busy highway while allegedly intoxicated. Such stories gain public attention because they are unusual. They also bring into question what qualifies as a DUI, or Texas’ preferred term of driving while intoxicated. For instance, Texas police arrested two men in 2011 for riding a horse and mule down a street while legally intoxicated. They were initially charged with DWI, but the charge was later reduced to public intoxication. Texas law is ambiguous regarding how to charge people who are using non-motorized transportation while intoxicated.

Riding While Intoxicated

Texas law clearly defines DWI incidents as involving motorized vehicles, which may include cars, trucks, motorcycles, motor boats and aircrafts. However, there are other means of transportation that do not involve motors, such as:

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