You will occasionally see news stories about a person who was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated after police found him or her driving the wrong way on a highway exit ramp. Driving the wrong way on a road is dangerous but not a serious offense by itself. In Texas, it is a traffic violation with a fine of as much as $200. You would need to commit the offense four times within a year in order for your driver’s license to be suspended. If prosecutors charge you with reckless driving, the maximum jail sentence upon conviction would be 30 days. However, driving the wrong way on a road could hurt your defense against a DWI charge in several ways:
- You Are Conspicuous: In order to conduct a DWI stop, a police officer must have reason to believe that you are committing a traffic violation or are a danger to yourself or others. Driving the wrong way on a road qualifies as both. Even if a police officer is not there to witness it, other drivers will notice and likely report it. Authorities sometimes set up traffic cameras at highway exit ramps in order to identify people who drive the wrong way. If you are identified as the driver, you will have a difficult time claiming that the stop was not justified.
- You Appear Disoriented: There is no plausible reason to drive the wrong way down a road or exit ramp. The officer who stops you will assume that you are either intoxicated or very confused. Starting with that bias, the officer may easily interpret your appearance or behavior as signs of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If your case goes to trial, the prosecution will use the fact that you were driving the wrong way to argue that your judgment was impaired.
- There Is Greater Risk of an Accident: Driving the wrong way can result in a head-on collision with serious or fatal injuries to both parties. You could be charged with intoxication assault if someone was injured in the accident or intoxication manslaughter if someone died. Both are felony charges that carry mandatory prison time and a fine of as much as $10,000 if you are convicted.
Contact a San Antonio DWI Defense Attorney
There are ways to defend yourself if you are accused of a DWI after you were driving the wrong way on a road. You could contest whether prosecutors can prove that it was your vehicle or claim that you were confused but not intoxicated. A San Antonio DWI defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Sam H. Lock can contest the charges against you. To schedule a free consultation, call 888-726-5625.