Texas bars may be closed again due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, but that didn't stop some Texans from making the mistake of getting behind the wheel while intoxicated over the July 4 holiday. In Harris County alone, 29 drivers were arrested over the holiday weekend and charged with DWI—essentially double the number of DWI arrests in the county compared to last year.
July 4 DWI—By the Numbers
Across the nation, the Fourth of July is statistically the most dangerous time of year for drunk driving accidents and fatalities—so much so that the entire month of July sees more drunk driving fatalities than any other month of the year. Let's look at a few specifics:
- Over the July 4th weekend of 2018, 193 people died in traffic accidents, with more than 40 percent of those fatalities attributable to alcohol.
- Between 2010-2017, the Fourth of July holiday saw a total of 1192 DWI-related deaths, for an average of 42.5 DUI fatalities per day.
- Drunk driving fatalities are 57 percent more likely to happen on the Fourth of July than on any other day of the summer.
The total number of DWI fatalities only represents a fraction of those who are caught drunk-driving during the holiday, thanks to sobriety checkpoints and law enforcement crackdowns. State law enforcement agencies almost always report a sharp uptick in DUI/DWI arrests during the Fourth of July. In 2019, for example, the California Highway Patrol made triple the number of DUI arrests over July 4 than during the same period the previous year.
July 4 DWI in Texas
As grim as these statistics sound, they are essentially worse in Texas in general, and Houston in particular. Consider the following statistics from Finder.com:
- Texas is the second deadliest state in America for July 4 DWI fatalities, coming in only behind California.
- Houston, TX is statistically the deadliest city to drive in during the first week of July.
Drunk driving has been particularly problematic during the Fourth of July in the State of Texas. In their annual July 4 press release this year, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) reported to the public that cops made 395 DWI arrests during the holiday weekend in 2019.
Consequences of DWI Convictions in Texas
At any time of year, a DWI arrest and convictions can have serious repercussions for the Texas driver. A first offense can land you 6 months in jail and a $2000 fine; a second offense can cause both to double. A third DWI arrest can result in felony charges and even more serious penalties. Those penalties don't even speak to the added dangers of being injured while driving drunk. With hospitals currently near capacity in the Houston area due to the pandemic, there couldn't be a worse time to require an emergency hospital visit for a life-threatening injury.
Law enforcement crackdowns during the holidays have the purpose of keeping the roads safe, but it also increases the chances of improper arrests, false positives, and other complications. If you were arrested for DWI during the July 4 holiday and need experienced legal counsel, let us help you find a path forward. Contact our office today.