Dallas County DWI Lawyer Reports: A New Law Passes the House Which Could Mean Changes for First Time DWI Offenders

According to a spokesperson for the organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving or MADD, Texas has more deaths caused by drunk driving than any other state in the country. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for 2013 found that more than 1,300 people were killed and more than 15,000 people were injured by drunk drivers.

Texas lawmakers seem to be aware of the problem and one member thinks he may have a law that could help. In early May, the Texas House of Representatives passed a new bill that, if it did become new law, would allow some first-time DWI offenders to drive—albeit sober. Under current Texas law, a person charged with DWI automatically has his or her driver’s license suspended (unless a timely request for hearing is properly filed and won).  Under proposed House Bill 2246, a first-time DWI offender with a low blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of his or her arrest would have the option to have an ignition interlock device installed in his or her vehicle. The option would allow an offender to have a restricted driver’s license rather than no license at all.

An ignition interlock device works much like a breathalyzer test that is installed directly into the offender’s vehicle. In order to start the vehicle, the offender would have to breathe into the device. If the offender was sober the vehicle would start, if the offender had alcohol in his or her system the vehicle would not start. The offender would also be required to give additional breath samples while the car is running to ensure that he or she remains sober through the entire drive. The device also prevents a third party from starting the offender’s car if he or she is not able to do so.

Supporters of the bill include the group Mothers Against Drunk Driving or MADD who feel that the law is better than the current system where first time offenders have to get by without a driver’s license. The group points out the reality that sometimes first-time offenders will drive without a valid license because they need to get to work or even take their children to and/or home from school. With the ignition interlock device in place, the offenders will be required to be sober in order to drive anywhere.

Proponents of the bill also point out that the proposed law is a way for first-time DWI offenders to not become repeat offenders. Studies conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control or CDC have found that the use of ignition interlock devices have reduced repeat drunk driving by more than 65 percent. Both the National Traffic Safety Board and AAA have made recommendations that all drivers convicted of driving drunk be required to have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles. In order for the bill to become new law it will have to pass a vote in the Senate.

If you have been arrested and charged with drunk driving, it is imperative that you meet with a knowledgeable Dallas County DWI Defense Attorney as soon as possible. Even a first time DWI offender will face serious and potentially life altering penalties. Only an experienced DWI Defense Attorney can make sure that the charges against you are fully investigated so as to uncover any and all possible defenses. For more than 30 years, seasoned Dallas County DWI Lawyer Jack Pettit has provided clients in Dallas and throughout Dallas County with aggressive legal representation. As a former prosecutor, Mr. Pettit has what it takes to fight a DWI charge. He is the attorney you can trust if you are facing a DWI. To schedule a free and confidential consultation contact the Law Office of Jack Pettit today at (214) 521-4567. Our office provides services to clients in both English and Spanish. Major credit cards are accepted as well.

Tags:

Comments are closed.