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Texas DWI Defense AttorneysData over the last few years suggests that San Antonio leads the nation in drunk driving arrests; in fact, from 2009 to 2018, the city of San Antonio had the highest DWI/DUI arrest rate among U.S. cities with 5,181 arrests per 100,000 people, for a total of 77,357 arrests, according to SmartAdvocate. This leads to the important question: What precautions are being taken to prevent driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas? 

6 Ways the Government Is Helping in the Fight Against DWI

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published numerous strategies for how Texas and other states can—and oftentimes do—curb DWIs by raising awareness and better targeting this infraction. Among their suggested methods of curtailing DWIs are:

  1. Stricter Legislation: First and foremost, laws are the primary way to prevent any unsafe behavior. This goes for any activity that puts others at risk. For instance, in Texas, the maximum legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is .08%, and the punishments for DWI are more severe than in some other states.
  2. Sobriety Checkpoints: The police might set up these checkpoints in certain places and at high-risk times to verify the sobriety of drivers, regardless of suspicion.
  3. Saturation Patrols: Similar to the sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols involve increased police vehicles that focus on areas of the city where drunk driving is more common.
  4. Ignition Interlocks for Offenders: When an ignition interlock device is installed on a car, the vehicle will not start if the person behind the wheel has been drinking. In addition to the inconvenience, the social stigma of the device can be a deterrent, as well.
  5. Treatment Referrals: Texas law provides harsh penalties for a DWI conviction, but in some cases, substance abuse treatment could be effective. For those with multiple DWIs on their records, treatment can help them get to the root of the problem and prevent future instances of driving drunk. 
  6. Education: Educating the young and other people about DWI, their dangers, and their consequences is a good, proactive approach to preventing the mindset that encourages drunk driving. The government and awareness campaigns have made significant progress in this area over the last few decades. has been making major efforts with this for decades.

Contact a San Antonio DWI Lawyer

The reality is that most people are aware of the dangers associated with drinking and driving. However, all it takes is a single lapse in judgment, and you could be facing charges that can affect the rest of your life. If you have been charged with DWI in or around San Antonio, you need an experienced Texas DWI defense attorney on your side. Call 888-726-5625 for a free consultation. The knowledgeable team at the Law Offices of Sam H. Lock will help you fight those charges and get the outcome you need to move on with your life.

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Texas DWI defense attorneysAlthough police officers are held to a higher moral standard than most civilians are, they are still capable of making mistakes like any other person. For instance, an officer’s bias could affect their decisions if they stop you on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. An officer is required to have reasonable suspicion that you are violating the law in order to stop you and probable cause that you have committed a crime in order to arrest you. This means that the officer should look at the evidence objectively before concluding that you are intoxicated, but some officers have already formed their opinion before they even talk to you. You may be able to defeat a DWI charge against you if you can prove that the officer’s confirmation bias was the reason for your arrest.

What Is Confirmation Bias?

When a police officer already suspects that you are intoxicated, they will pay more attention to evidence that confirms their bias or interpret evidence in a way that supports their bias. This is known as confirmation bias, and there are several ways that an officer may unintentionally use it during a DWI stop:

  • The officer assumes that any sluggish or unusual behavior is a symptom of intoxication when you may be sick, fatigued, or nervous.
  • The officer does not consider the many factors other than intoxication that could affect your performance on a field sobriety test, such as physical health issues.
  • The officer assumes that your refusal to answer questions or agree to a chemical sobriety test means that you are hiding the fact that you are intoxicated.

Confirmation bias is one of the primary reasons you should refuse a field sobriety test, even when you know you are sober. Evaluating your balance or eye movement is completely subjective, and the officer’s interpretation of your performance might be based on an assumption that you are intoxicated.

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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:

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When Can You Expunge a DWI Arrest from Your Record?An arrest and conviction for driving while intoxicated will stay on your criminal record long after any court ruling or punishment. You may not realize the effect that a DWI record can have until it shows up during a background check when you are applying for a job. This may be particularly frustrating if you were never convicted of DWI. A DWI arrest and charge remain on your record unless you take steps to expunge them. However, your case must meet specific conditions in order to be eligible for expunction in Texas.

What Is Expunction?

Criminal charges and convictions are normally visible to anyone who conducts a criminal background check on you. With DWI convictions in Texas, you can petition to have your conviction sealed from everyone except for law enforcement and employers in sensitive fields, such as education. Texas allows record sealing for some first-time DWI offenders whose conviction did not include aggravating charges. Expunction removes the charge and conviction from your record so that it does not appear in any searches of official public records (Your arrest may still appear in an internet search if a story about your arrest was published and is archived on a private media company’s website).

Qualifying for Expunction

You cannot expunge a DWI conviction from your criminal record in Texas. Even if you were convicted of a lesser charge, you cannot remove the DWI arrest from your record. If you were a juvenile convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, your juvenile record may be eligible for expunction if you completed your punishment and do not have any other alcohol-related charges on your record. Otherwise, you can expunge your DWI arrest and charge from your record only if you were not convicted, such as:

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Have Ride-Sharing Services Decreased Texas DWI Arrests?Ride-sharing services such as Lyft and Uber often hail themselves for decreasing the number of crashes and arrests involving people who drive while intoxicated. Arranging for transportation through your phone makes it easier for you to get a ride home when you are too drunk to drive. Various studies have shown that metropolitan areas had decreases in DWI arrests after the ride-sharing services entered their market, but the effect is inconsistent across the different cities. Some researchers believe that the effect of ride-sharing services on DWI arrests and crashes may be overstated.

Other Factors

Researchers had a good opportunity to study the relationship between DWI arrests and ride-sharing services when Lyft and Uber temporarily left some major cities a few years ago, including Austin and San Antonio. Cities such as San Antonio did have a noticeable decrease in alcohol-related crashes when the services returned, but other cities saw little or no change. For instance, the number of DWI arrests continued to decrease in Austin after Lyft and Uber ceased operating there. Thus, researchers state that other factors may be responsible when DWI arrests decrease, such as:

  • Public education campaigns;
  • Expansions in public transportation; and
  • Societal attitudes towards drunk driving.

A Fatal Problem

Texas consistently has the highest number of alcohol-related driving fatalities in the country. The fatality total has slightly increased in Texas during recent years – from 1,323 in 2015 to 1,468 in 2017. Ride-sharing services certainly do not seem to be decreasing the number of deaths. The assumption that ride-sharing will greatly prevent drunk driving is flawed in several ways:

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Office

Bexar County

In the historic King William District

1011 S. Alamo,
San Antonio, Texas 78210
210-226-0965
888-726-5625 Toll Free
210-226-7540

Office

Guadalupe County

109 Court Street,
Seguin, Texas 78155
830-372-1522
888-726-5625 Toll Free