The Fourth of July has always been a good time for Texans to celebrate. For many, that means having a few drinks with friends. But for 192 people in Harris County this year, it also meant an arrest for driving while intoxicated.
The Harris County Sheriff's Office announced that it made the arrests over the three-day Independence Day weekend, with some help from other law enforcement agencies. The Sheriff's Office says the large number of arrests was no accident; it had additional officers out patrolling, and some of them were specifically focused on making DWI arrests.
The consequences of a DWI conviction in Texas can be severe, and they can be expensive. On a first offense, a conviction can result in a fine of up to $2,000, a six-month jail sentence, and mandatory community service. The penalties increase with subsequent convictions; a second offense can bring a $4,000 fine and a one-year jail sentence, and a third offense can result in a $10,000 fine and a prison sentence of up to 10 years. In addition, a convicted individual's driver's license can be suspended for two years on a second or third offense.
With so much at stake, a person facing drunk driving charges in Texas needs to put forward a strong DWI defense. In many cases, the accuracy of blood alcohol testing can be called into question, especially if the arresting officers failed to follow the correct testing protocol or failed to properly calibrate the testing equipment. When blood alcohol evidence is thrown out, the result is often a dismissal of the charges or an acquittal at trial.
Source: The Rancher, "Harris County arrests 192 for DWI over Fourth of July weekend," Alex Endress, July 8, 2014