Has COVID-19 Reduced the Number of DWI Arrests in Texas?
Many people expected the number of arrests in Texas for driving while intoxicated to decrease this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are a couple of factors that seem to logically point towards this:
- Many restaurants and bars have been closed, which reduces the number of people driving home after drinking.
- People are more likely to stay at home as a precaution to avoid infection.
News reports in the early months of the pandemic suggested that DWI arrest numbers had dropped, but it seems that was only a temporary effect. A recent story on DWI arrests in San Antonio claimed that the number of arrests from Jan. 1 to July 6 was down only four percent from the same period last year – 2,255 arrests in 2019 and 2,168 arrests in 2020.
Reasons Behind the Numbers
Why has the number of DWI arrests in Texas not decreased as people predicted? There are a few possible explanations:
- The stay-at-home order did not deter people as much as expected.
- Restaurants and bars re-opening caused a spike in DWI arrests.
- The data includes multiple holiday weekends.
Even when police departments reported that DWI arrests were down by half in March and April, there were police officials who said that they had expected the decline to be even greater. Drinking at bars and restaurants may have been replaced by drinking at home, and people still need to drive to check on loved ones and pick up essential supplies.
When bars reopened in Texas on May 22 for Memorial Day weekend, many people went out to celebrate. As a result, some police departments reported that their number of DWI arrests had doubled from the previous weekend. Even with bars reclosing, people are still attending social gatherings with alcohol, as is typical during the summer months. San Antonio had 11 DWI arrests on the Fourth of July, but that was a decrease of only four arrests from the previous year despite most events being canceled.
Contact a San Antonio DWI Defense Lawyer
Make no mistake: police officers are still enforcing DWI laws during the pandemic, and arrests are still happening. It is particularly important in these times to avoid incarceration and remain at home with your family. A San Antonio DWI defense attorney at the Law Offices of Sam H. Lock can help you if you are facing a DWI charge. Schedule a free consultation by calling 888-726-5625.