Now is not the time to drive when you are intoxicated

Thanks to the National Transportation Safety Administration (NTSA) communities across the country are cracking down on DWI. The campaign runs from August 16 to September 2. NTSA is furnishing local agencies with Products for Enforcement Action - which they are calling PEAK. The kit primarily includes marketing materials, such as flyers, billboards and logos to use. One of those items is a graphic showing crime, crash and arrest statistics. According to NTHSA, there are more arrests for DWI every hour than there are for aggravated assaults and violent crimes.

You've probably already seen some of the ads that are running on television. One of the slogans is "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over", and the other is "They'll see you before you see them". 

I must admit I like these slogans better than the infamous "Drink, Drive and Go to Jail". That always drove me crazy because it's not the law. It's never been against the law to drink and drive. It's only against the law to drive when you are intoxicated - there's a big difference. Thanks to that campaign though a lot of people - citizens who end up on jury panels - believe it's illegal to drive after you've had anything to drink. 

There is an exception - as with everything. In Texas if you under 21 it is illegal to drive if you've had anything to drink. That's not unreasonable, since you aren't supposed to be drinking anyway.

I'm sure different places will implement this in different manners. One of the suggestions is to increase the number of officers, and have those officers focused on catching drunk drivers. That seems easy enough - put more officers on the street. There's no doubt some will implement "no refusal" weekends, and get blood from everyone suspected of driving while intoxicated. So far I haven't seen any statements from the Waco police department or the McLennan County sheriff's office. But stepping up enforcement has been the norm for the labor day weekend.

With increased enforcement your chances of getting stopped are greater. While it's never a good idea to drive while intoxicated, the increased enforcement over the next several weeks should give you some extra incentive. If you end up getting arrested make sure you seek out a lawyer who is experienced in representing individuals charged with driving while intoxicated.

Walter Reaves
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Criminal Defense Attorney Walter Reaves has been practicing law for over 30 years.
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