Another Texas DWI Case for Ignition Interlock Devices

Lifetime ignition interlock for Texas DWIThere are many reasons to be proud of Texas and its continued fight against drunk drivers across the state. In the last year, the state expanded ignition interlock device access to include all Texas DWI offenders, not just those with a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or with multiple offenses. That expansion allows a first-offense DWI offender the ability to legally drive their own vehicle, as long as there in an interlock installed, in exchange for providing a BAC sample to the device. Some say, however, that Texas can still do more to keep drunk drivers off the roads, and that the solution isn’t necessarily about more jail time, but a longer license suspension time.

If a person has multiple Texas DWI offenses, eventually that person could face a lifetime prison sentence, especially if a death or injury occurs. Some would say that before that’s even an option, Texas could increase the suspension time for driving, and increase the time an offender must install and maintain an ignition interlock device. If an offender is given the chance to rehabilitate after a DWI, including maintaining their job and home while surrounded by their family, they have a chance at a positive outcome once the DWI dust settles. The ignition interlock can also work to keep that person from drunk driving long after it is removed, as it builds in new, healthy habits with drinking and driving. Extended prison time doesn’t do any of that.

A Texas DWI is a big deal the first time it happens, and even more serious as incidents stack up on a criminal record. With an ignition interlock, we know that an offender is unable to drive if they’ve been drinking, and that same offender is more likely to think twice about attempting to drink and drive again, knowing there’s a longer interlock requirement in their future.

DUI Child Endangerment and Your IID

DUI child endangerment IIDEndangering a child is one of the worst crimes imaginable. Driving under the influence (DUI) with a child present shows a true lack of consideration for the mental and physical safety of a child – someone who really has no choice but to be driven around by an intoxicated adult. DUI child endangerment laws are the result of too many kids being killed or injured at the hands of an adult who didn’t call for a safe ride home. In many states, those laws include an ignition interlock requirement if you are found guilty, even for a first offense.

Aggravating circumstances increase the consequences a DUI. Examples of aggravating circumstances are child endangerment and causing injury, death or property damage. Not all states require an interlock for a first-offense DUI, but when aggravating factors are present, an IID requirement is more likely, as are jail time and higher fines.

Not only that, but in states like Oklahoma, Mississippi and Texas, DUI child endangerment is also a guaranteed felony conviction, regardless of an offender’s criminal record. A felony will affect your life forever, even if no one was harmed and your only crime was driving under the influence with a child in the vehicle.

As adults, we are tasked with helping children grow into healthy and responsible adults. That task is never clearer than when we’re tempted to drive after a few drinks, whether kids are present or not. Being an example for others means we don’t drink or text and drive, and we keep our seat belts fastened at all times. An ignition interlock is a consequence for those adults who have made a choice to drive under the influence of alcohol. The device is also a way to ensure that children who cannot choose their driver are protected from any further drunk driving incidents.

Expanding No Refusal in Austin, TX

Expanding no refusal DWI in Austin TXIn Austin, Texas, there’s been a recent DWI trend worth watching: the public has been asking for more “no refusal” weekends in order to stop drunk drivers and keep the streets safer. The no refusal law means that if pulled over, drivers are not supposed to refuse sobriety testing.  If they do, the officer investigating the potential DWI can easily get warrants to perform blood or breath testing.  If the driver is found to be driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) at or above 0.08 percent, they will be immediately charged, their license suspended and forced to install an ignition interlock system in their personal vehicles on top of paying fines and potentially serving time in jail.

In Texas, if you refuse a breathalyzer test, you will be faced with the same consequences as someone whom would test above the legal BAC level. Plus, that refusal guarantees you’ll have an ignition interlock requirement, too. On average, a drunk driver has probably managed to drive under the influence 80 times before being caught or charged. No refusal weekends like those in Austin, TX, are showing that with the extra effort, those estimated 80 intoxicated incidents can be stopped before someone gets hurt or worse.

With expanding no refusal laws and ignition interlock access in Austin and across Texas, the state is a lone, shining star to follow in the fight against DWIs. No refusal policies are affecting the way people plan their nights out when drinking. Especially serving as both a reminder of what could potentially happen and preventative measure for those who haven’t quite gotten the message about the risks of drinking and driving.

Austin may be one of the more unique, creative cities in the U.S., but it’s serious about keeping dangerous DWI drivers from causing more damage. With the memory of the SXSW DWI incident still fresh on the minds of residents, we can all understand why no refusal policies are giving everyone a little more peace of mind.

Penalties for Failing a Texas Ignition Interlock Test

Penalties for Failing a Texas Ignition Interlock TestEveryone makes mistakes. Some people think they’re OK to drive when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) tells another story. That BAC not only legally defines a DWI in Texas (and across the U.S.) but it is also used by the ignition interlock devices that are placed on the vehicles of many offenders after an arrest or conviction. Failing a Texas ignition interlock test becomes a big obstacle in resuming life as normal, with plenty of penalties for those who try to keep drinking and driving, even with an interlock installed.

Either through the DMV or court, a Texas DWI offender is given the choice (or required) to install an interlock. That is one of those commitments that needs to be taken seriously, as the penalties become more severe with a BAC level above the pre-set limit. Each time the offender uses the device, it not only measures their BAC but it also records the data. Once that data is received by the DMV or court, any ignition interlock test failures come to light. The offender may then lose their chance to have an ignition interlock device and be stuck with a suspended or revoked license, or they may have their time with the device extended.

On the other hand, if you use the device as instructed and have no problems with failing your Texas ignition interlock test, you’ll be ahead of the curve. You’ll not only be able to keep your job and those important paychecks rolling in, but you have the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve done a great job with your commitment to sober driving and that you are an example to follow for anyone else who makes your same mistake.

How Ignition Interlock Devices Help Texas DWI Offenders

Ignition interlock devices help Texas DWI offendersDrinking and driving is serious. It endangers lives and can even lead to prison under certain circumstances. But a Texas DWI offender has an alternative to prison: a way to to remain legally on the road after a drunk driving conviction. This alternative is an ignition interlock device.

Ignition interlock devices keep the streets safe from drunk drivers.

Keeping up with family and life obligations is next to impossible when serving out a prison term. That means the impact of prison is not just on the DWI offender, but on those who rely on them for financial, physical or emotional care. Aside from other crimes that can occur as a result of a Texas DWI, including the death of another or serious injury, prison may be an outdated consequence for many drunk drivers. When you consider that Texas now allows all first-offense DWI offenders opt into the ignition interlock program and that the devices are required for all subsequent DWI offenses, the streets are much safer.  In that sense, ignition interlock devices keep people out of prison and able to resume their normal lives. That is a benefit to Texas on all levels.

People who are allowed to live their lives, even while monitored by an interlock, continue on in a positive direction in life. That means jobs are kept, bills are paid, medical appointments are attended and all other aspects of life continue to benefit families and the entire state of Texas. All it takes is the regular testing of an offender’s breath sample and the proof that they are sober while driving, as a result, to keep Texas prisons from overcrowding and the roads safe and sober.

An ignition interlock device is a solution for those who are ready to take control of their lives after a DWI. Instead of facing a prison stay that keeps life on hold, the devices allow more people to make up for their mistakes and keep living a safe life on Texas roads and across the U.S.

Let’s Hear it for All-Offender Ignition Interlock Programs

All offender interlock programTexas and New York may not have a lot of similarities, but that could all change when it comes to drunk drivers. Texas recently made a bold move in the fight against DWIs: they said anyone who wants an ignition interlock device can have one – a move almost like the current “Leandra’s Law” in New York that requires an ignition interlock for any DWI offender. Bringing these very different states together in the fight against drunk driving is more than “peas and carrots”; it is the latest trend in safer roads across the U.S.: all-offender ignition interlock programs.

Not all states have all-offender ignition interlock programs for drunk drivers. In fact, not all states have criminal penalties for a first-offense drunk driving conviction. That’s why we love seeing states pay attention to the effectiveness of ignition interlock programs and do something about putting them into the hands of those who need them the most: drunk drivers.

By updating the DWI law in Texas, more people are able to use ignition interlock devices and keep their jobs. DWI offenders can make it to court appointments more easily, and families are less impacted by a “breadwinner” with a suspended license.

All-offender ignition interlock programs are more effective in rehabilitating DWI offenders than taking away their freedom to drive entirely. Driving is an essential part of life for most of us, which is why reducing that restriction by allowing interlocks is so vital to the recovery process.

In states like New York, Virginia and New Mexico, a drunk driving conviction will mean an ignition interlock installation, no matter what. There are comprehensive monitoring programs in those states, as well, to ensure compliance with the court. Texas may not be in a position to mandate the devices for all offenders, but offering them as an option after a DWI is a big step toward reducing further offenses. Plus, it gives an offender a second chance at proving their responsibility behind the wheel, a chance that is worth taking, no matter which state they call home.

Ignition Interlocks for All Drunk Drivers in Texas… and the U.S.?

ignition interlockEverything is bigger in Texas, including the rate of fatal car accidents attributed to drunk drivers. As a state that holds the second largest population in the U.S., it would seem that reducing the number of fatalities from drunk drivers would be much easier with an all-offender ignition interlock requirement. After all, an ignition interlock takes away the ability to drive if a person has been drinking, keeping the streets safer by  preventing more drunk drivers from re-offending.

Even as HB 2246 goes through the Texas state legislature for approval, there is national attention on the process. If HB 2246 becomes Texas law and with the population of the state, backers of ignition interlock legislation for all-offenders can continue to support similar laws across the U.S. If the legal drinking age and the national blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit that defines a drunk driver are consistent in all states, then the same could happen for ignition interlock laws. That means that every state in the U.S. would have the same protections from drunk drivers, making all of our roads safe from dangerous drunk drivers.

Drunk driving is preventable, and when the lessons we learn about that danger are drowned out by the effects of that “one for the road,” it is good to know we have a reliable alternative that’s ready to make positive changes across the U.S. If everything is bigger in Texas, it seems the state should “go big” with its drunk driving penalties and show the entire country what it means to invest in a future that is safe from drunk drivers. HB 2246 may be the “game changer” in the fight for consistent drunk driving laws in the U.S., and with Texas in the spotlight, that “big” influence can make the difference in everyone’s lives.

 

DWI Increase Leads to New Campaign in Texas

Texas has seen an increase in its DWI-related fatalities in 2013, showing lawmakers and law enforcement officers that much more can be done to change the way people choose to drive after drinking alcohol. According to valleycentral.com, a statewide campaign that proclaims “DWI Hangovers Don’t Go Away,” will be in full force, with the emphasis on underage drinkers and spring break partiers. This campaign promotes the awareness that the only sober driver is the person who has not had a drink, and is not the person who has consumed the least amount of alcohol. Patrols will be focused on drunk drivers and those committing other traffic offenses. Read more here: TxDOT: DWI hangovers don’t go away

Texas Focus on Spanish Drivers

Drunk driving awareness is important, no matter where a person lives, but when cultural differences intersect, the result can be devastating to families that just may not understand the crimes being committed on their own streets. Kuhf FM news reports that the Texas Department of Transportation has recently begun a new awareness campaign aimed at the Hispanic population in the area. According to new data, Hispanic men in Texas, age 18-34, are responsible for almost half of all alcohol-related vehicle accidents in the state. With Mexican Independence Day celebrations planned, the department sees a window of opportunity to educate residents about drinking and driving. Read more here: TxDOT Wants To Curb High Drunk Driving Rate Among Young Hispanic Men

Social Media is Keeping Streets Sober in Plano

Plano, Texas, has something to show the rest of the country when it comes to curbing drunk driving accidents in the city. Star Local News reports that the city has instituted a year-long “no refusal” policy when it comes to traffic stops involving suspected drunk drivers. In addition, the city is using its own social media presence on Facebook to not only share information regarding criminals, but to also give out awareness information and facts regarding the dangers of drinking and driving, and the city has crafted a unique billboard to illustrate the two ways a person can get home after a night of drinking and driving. Read more here: Drunk driving in Plano: Awareness efforts accompany no-refusal policy