This year, more than 4 million people in the state of Texas are expected to travel at least 50 miles to celebrate Thanksgiving. The holidays are often a time to relax with family and, if you're of age, enjoy a few drinks. Be careful if you decide to get behind the wheel on Thanksgiving. Texas State Troopers have made it clear that they'll be watching the roads carefully. While they'll be searching for any traffic violations, they'll really be keeping an eye out for drunk and impaired drivers.
DWI Arrests Tend to Spike Around the Holidays
There are two reasons DWI arrests tend to happen more around the holidays. First, the holidays are a time to celebrate. Celebrations often involve alcohol. As a result, more people may drive with alcohol in their system. Second, police dispatch additional officers to monitor the roads during the holidays. This is done, in part, because traffic tends to be heavier during these times. It's also done because police know drivers may be more likely to be intoxicated. The chances of being pulled over on suspicion of DWI are simply greater when there are more police watching the roads. The best advice for avoiding a DWI arrest is to completely abstain from drinking alcohol and then driving, even though the law allows a person to drink and then drive so long as they do not drink so much that they become legally drunk, or intoxicated. This is true because enforcement of DWI laws is very subjective and police tend to air on the side of caution and arrest rather than release those who have been drinking and driving.
Thanksgiving tends to be a particularly busy time for police. In 2017, more than 73,000 traffic citations were issued during the extended Thanksgiving weekend (Wednesday - Sunday). Three hundred twenty-four (324) of these stops involved drivers who were suspected to be under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Since more drivers are projected to be on the roads this Thanksgiving, it's possible that police may make even more DWI arrests.
Holidays and No Refusal Weekends in Texas
Generally speaking, police cannot force you to provide a sample of your breath or blood if you've been stopped on suspicion of DWI in Texas. You have the right to refuse to consent to chemical testing. However, there is an exception to this rule. You may be forced to provide a blood sample if you're stopped during a No-Refusal Weekend. No-Refusal Weekends typically coincide with major holidays, including Thanksgiving.
The term “no-refusal” is somewhat of a misnomer. You still have the right to refuse chemical testing. However, it is much easier for police to obtain a search warrant for your blood during these weekends. Counties have additional staff on hand during these weekends - including police officers, magistrates, and nurses - to accelerate the process of securing a search warrant. As a result, police officers are much more likely to get a warrant and obtain a sample of your blood in a timely manner. Since blood test results are most reliable when they're performed shortly after a stop, this can significantly affect your DWI case.
Police will be out in full force this Thanksgiving. It's important to contact an experienced Houston DWI lawyer if you're arrested on suspicion of DWI, or driving while impaired. The Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. can offer immediate assistance with your criminal DWI case. Call to schedule your free case assessment today.