Drunk Driving In Texas Can Start With Just One Drink

drunk driving in Texas The biggest question people have about drinking and driving is, “How much is too much?” The answer to that question is simple: there is no safe amount of alcohol you can drink before you drive, and the Texas Department of Transportation would like you to be aware of that. The risk of your crashing or being arrested because of drunk driving in Texas can begin at very low levels of impairment.

According to TDOT, every 20 minutes someone in Texas is injured or killed because of an alcohol-related drunk driving crash. Given the risk, why do people drink and drive? It might be because they don’t realize that one drink might be all it takes to impair your driving skills.

Alcohol affects everyone in a different way

Alcohol has the power to affect your vision, hand/eye coordination, and motor skills, and the effects begin as soon as you’ve had your first drink. What happens after that drink hits your bloodstream depends on a few factors including whether you’re male or female, what your body weight is, and your age.

No every drink is created the same way either. Tall cans of beer look like one can, but they can include as many as three servings of beer. Cocktails you purchase in a club can have two or three different types of liquor, and some wines have more alcohol-content than others.

Because of those differences, no one can tell you that it’s safe to drive after drinking one drink. While one person will feel sober after one or two glasses of beer in an hour, another will be well on their way to impairment after drinking the same amount. That person could easily be arrested for drunk driving in Texas, all because they drank the same amount as another person.

If you’d like to have a drink with dinner or you want to drive home after you’ve been out drinking, your best option is to find a sober driver. If you have to ask yourself, “How much is too much?” you shouldn’t be driving.

Are Wisconsin OWI Offenders Skipping Their Interlocks?

Wisconsin OWI The news is full of stories about drunk drivers violating Wisconsin OWI laws, and that’s not really surprising all things considered. At this time first time offenders who are arrested for Wisconsin OWI receive what amounts to nothing more than a traffic ticket.

But letting those first-time offenders get off easily can result in that person becoming a second, third, or four-time offender, and once they get to that point the Wisconsin penalty system will kick in and they’ll be forced to pay the price.

Unfortunately a lot of offenders seem to be weighing whether or not they want to actually comply with those penalties, many people may be skipping out on their ignition interlock program. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, there were over 300 convictions relating to either tampering with or failing to install an ignition interlock.

An ignition interlock—a device that requires the drunk driving offender to blow an alcohol-free breath sample before the engine will turn over, is required to be installed on every repeat Wisconsin OWI offender’s vehicle. They are also required for any first-time offender who is arrested with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15 or higher and anyone who refuses the breathalyzer when suspected of drunk driving.

Without an ignition interlock to stop a convicted drunk driver, that driver can continue to get behind the wheel while drunk. If that happens, he or she could easily crash and kill someone or themselves. That’s why the Wisconsin Bureau of Transportation Safety plans on creating a ignition interlock monitoring program.

In order to monitor all ignition interlock offenders, the bureau will need to pair with law enforcement and keep track of all offenders and all data relating to an ignition interlock. From the moment of arrest that person will need to be tracked, and that’s a big project for the state.

But out of all the states that should make the effort, Wisconsin is at the top of the list. More than fines, fees, and even jail time, ignition interlocks need to be part of a drunk driver’s rehabilitation program. If they aren’t, there’s no way to change their behavior.

No Mystery When It Comes To Drunk Driving In Washington State

drunk driving in Washington stateIt was a dark and stormy night. Police in Tacoma, Washington were on duty when they were called out to a disturbance in a quiet subdivision. What they found was a mystery: an ignition interlock device was torn apart and lay in pieces. Ripped from the dash of a vehicle owned by a man convicted of drunk driving in Washington, the driver was mystified as to what happened.

It sounds like the beginning of an ominous tale with no clear explanation, but police in Washington state know what may seem like a mystery isn’t usually a mystery at all. The jeep with the dismantled ignition interlock was sitting in a driveway, and the driver was causing a disturbance by yelling as he walked around his car.

It turns out that the man had just been to a party and he wanted to drive home. He admitted to the police officers that he had been drinking, listing a Jagerbomb as one of his beverages of choice, and he’d used marijuana. Although his memory wasn’t clear after that, he believed he’d arrived at his vehicle to find his ignition interlock ripped off the dash and in pieces.

Police didn’t buy his explanation. They asked if he realized it was a crime to tamper with his ignition interlock after he was already convicted of drunk driving in Washington state, and he acknowledged that yes, it was. That’s when they arrested him on that charge, and his dismantled jeep was towed away.

If you are convicted of tampering with an ignition interlock in Washington state, you will be charged with a gross misdemeanor. That’s separate from your original charge of drunk driving.

There’s no real mystery to drunk driving and anything that happens because of it. Alcohol impairs your ability to think, react, and yes, even after one drink, drive a car. Under the influence, you could decide to make crazy choices like tearing your ignition interlock out of the dash. As this man has shown, that’s only going to lead to more trouble for you.

California Drunk Driving Arrests Help State Win Top Spot For Worst Drivers

california drunk driving Have you ever wondered where the worst drivers in the United States live? Given Florida’s track record you would be forgiven for thinking it held this distinction, but you’d be wrong: thanks to California drunk driving and distracted driving, it’s the Golden State that reportedly has the Worst US Drivers by State.

You now know where to avoid driving thanks to a new report by a marketplace website called QuoteWizard. They did a study focusing on crashes, fatalities, traffic tickets, DUI arrests, and speeding tickets. Compiling millions of pieces of data, they came up with a list of the best and worst drivers in America.

Given the combination of California drunk driving arrests and tickets written for distracted driving, the state was able to jump from its 2016 second place finish to first place for 2017. The authors of the study cited Los Angeles gridlock as a hot spot for bad driving, and they also ranked several California cities; Riverside, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Bakersfield as being on the list of cities with the worst drivers. Sacramento held the distinction of being the number one worst city in the nation.

With data like this showing the cold, hard facts about driving in California, residents should be glad that there is a new ignition interlock law on the horizon. Expanding on the current pilot program taking place in several counties, the new ignition interlock law will be implemented in January of 2019. At that point ignition interlocks will become an option for all drivers in the state, and if enough people put them to use, there should be a significant drop in California drunk driving arrests.

Given that the new interlock law is a year away and that distracted driving is only increasing in the state, it’s not surprising that California has taken the top spot. It also seems likely that California could continue to claim the worst drivers in the nation into 2018, and that means there is work to do now.

Underage Drinking So Intense, The Air At The Party Registered On Breathalyzer

underage drinkingIt’s a forgone conclusion that university parties will be host to underage drinking. What you’d hope is that the underage drinking wouldn’t be so out of control that the air in the room itself could register on a breathalyzer device.

It’s hard to believe but it’s true: a party held off-campus at American University in Bethesda, Maryland was packed to the rafters with underage drinkers. They were attending what’s known as “Tequila Tuesday,” and the alcohol was flowing steadily.

When police arrived, they found people locked in the bathroom and others jumping out of the second story window. They charged the six people hosting the party, and between the six of them they received 126 counts of providing alcohol to minors.

That’s bad enough, but the underage drinking isn’t the most shocking thing about this party; it’s the space it was hosted in. When police pulled out the breathalyzer to test the occupants in the house, the air in the house registered a .01.

Having a .01 breathalyzer reading isn’t overly significant if you’re a person blowing into the breathalyzer, but the air in the house would have to be overloaded with alcohol fumes in order to register on the device.

There would be two major concerns for the police who responded to the call about the party: one, they would be worried about underage drinking and alcohol poisoning, and two, they’d be on the lookout for underage drinking drivers.

The State of Maryland has a zero-tolerance law for drunk drivers under the age of 21, and that means if they are caught driving with even a .01 percent blood alcohol content (BAC), they could have their driver’s license suspended.

This is one party that will definitely go down in Maryland record books, and it’s safe to say both police and university officials won’t want a repeat of it anytime soon.

Florida Drunk Drivers Don’t Normally Call Themselves In

Florida drunk driversPolice catch Florida drunk drivers all the time. Anyone who is inclined to get behind the wheel drunk has a strong likelihood of getting caught as soon as they hit the open road, and if police don’t stop these people, other drivers may call them in too.

There’s also the possibility that the drunk driver will call himself in. Or, at least, that’s what happened on New Year’s Eve in Winter Haven, Florida. It’s hard to believe, but this drunk driver decided to pick up the phone and call the police dispatch when he couldn’t figure out where he was.

The audio recording was shared on the Winter Haven Police Department’s Facebook page. The drunk driver said that he was driving but was too drunk and didn’t know where he was. He said he was driving a red truck, and while the dispatcher directed him to pull over to the side of the road, he said he’s parked near the police department but so far, nothing was happening.

It’s strange enough that he called and that he pulled over and was waiting for the police, but as he waited he changed his mind and told the dispatcher, ‘I think I am going to get something to eat, they can just catch up with me later.’

Long story short, he tried to leave his location but the dispatcher managed to zero in on him and police arrived. They found him on the wrong side of the road, without a seat belt, and with previous convictions for Florida DUI as well as drug charges.

Like other Florida drunk drivers, he’s been charged with DUI and will face criminal charges in court. Unlike other drunk drivers in the state, he managed to get caught for drunk driving without getting pulled over at a checkpoint, without getting pulled over for driving erratically, and without getting called in by a concerned citizen. He did it all on his own.

In this case the police department was happy no one was hurt, and if you follow their Facebook page, you can tell they thought it was pretty funny. That’s understandable, because most Florida DUI arrests don’t end that way.

What’s The Difference Between A Texas DUI And A Texas DWI?

Texas DUIWhat’s the difference between a Texas DUI conviction—known as driving under the influence, and a Texas DWI—driving while intoxicated? Both include serious penalties, but if you’ve just been charged with either, you should know they aren’t exactly the same thing.

In many US states a DUI is the only charge you’ll receive, and state by state DUI laws highlight the different fines, fees, and penalties you can receive with your charge. Specifically in Texas, what you are charged with depends on a few factors.

What is a Texas DUI charge?

In Texas, you can be charged with DUI if you are stopped by police and your blood alcohol content (BAC) is below the legal limit of .08. If you receive this charge, it’s a Class C misdemeanor on your record.

You can also be charged with Texas DUI if police determine you are a minor and you are driving with any amount of alcohol in your system. That means if you are a minor and you blow into a breathalyzer and register anything other than zero, you can be charged with DUI.

What is a Texas DWI charge?

In contrast to the Texas DUI, a Texas DWI is a charge when a person has been stopped for driving while intoxicated, with intoxicated being defined as having a .08 reading on a breathalyzer or having physical or mental impairment due to alcohol or drugs.

A Texas DWI is a Class B misdemeanor. That can change if you are arrested with a BAC over 0.15 or if you hurt or killed someone because you were driving drunk. In that case your crime could jump up to a felony, and you could be going to prison.

Penalties for both DWI and DUI

Whether you have been charged with a Texas DUI or a Texas DWI, you’ll be receiving penalties for those charges.  The penalties for a Texas DUI will be less severe and could include a driver’s license suspension and fines. Penalties for a Texas DWI could include fines, a driver’s license suspension for a year, and the possibility of an ignition interlock device in any vehicle you drive.

In Texas, just like everywhere else, if you don’t want to pay the price, don’t drink and drive.

 

Will This Florida Drunk Driving Crash Prompt New Interlock Laws?

Florida drunk driving It’s inevitable that police officers will be hurt or killed in the line of duty, and it’s especially sad when they are attempting to rescue an innocent person from crash site. Unfortunately, it’s all too common for police officers to be killed or injured while helping others, and one Florida drunk driving crash has claimed another victim.

It happened in Miami-Dade County in the early hours. A Florida Highway Patrol trooper was at the scene of a crash. While he was standing at the scene another car hit one of the crashed cars and the impact sent the other crashed car straight into the officer.

The officer was hit and landed a distance away from the cars. He was left with serious injuries. The driver who caused the second crash was given a breathalyzer test and was found to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .201. That’s almost triple the legal limit of .08.  After an investigation of the crash police arrested him on a Florida drunk driving charge and DUI causing damage.

Thankfully the officer will recover from his injuries, but other police officers haven’t been as lucky. Officer Noah Leotta of Maryland was working a DUI check stop when a car crashed into him. The impact ended his life. Leotta’s death was one of the reasons why Maryland was spurred to pass an all offender ignition interlock law.

An ignition interlock device is a device that requires all drunk driving offenders, including first time offenders with a BAC of .08 or higher, to blow an alcohol-free sample before they can start the car. It’s been proven that all offender ignition interlock laws save lives and prevent thousands of people from driving after they attempt to start their cars.

Could this crash mean that Florida will begin a serious effort to pass such a law in the sunshine state? Florida has let an all offender ignition interlock law die before it came to a final vote on more than one occasion, but all it takes is one serious drunk driving case to motivate lawmakers to get behind a new bill. Will this be the case for Florida?

Parenting Fail: Mom Charged With DWI With Child In Back Seat

family in carNo one should ever drink and drive, but if you’re determined to do so, the least you can do is leave your children at home. This is a message that most parents should easily understand, but you’d be amazed at how many decide that getting charged with DWI is not a big deal with or without their kids along. One Santa Fe, New Mexico mother was just charged with DWI for a second time after she crashed her van. That’s bad enough, but she had a young child along with her too.

Police arrived on the scene of a crash after someone reported a driver who drove into a parking lot barrier at a MacDonald’s restaurant. When they arrived they found a woman in her underwear lying across the seats and there was blood splattered everywhere. The van windows were rolled down and it was below freezing, and an open container of alcohol lay on the floor. There was also a child strapped into a car seat in the back.

That paints a pretty grisly image, so it’s hard to understand why this offender wasn’t happy for the help when police showed up. When paramedics cleaned her up she yelled at police officers, and they had to obtain a warrant to do a blood draw. She was arrested, charged with DWI, and also received a third-degree felony count of child abuse. Her child has been placed with relatives, and she’s going to face the consequences of her second DWI arrest.

In New Mexico that means stiff penalties. She could spend up to one year in jail, pay up to $1,000 in fines, and attend an alcohol evaluation. She’ll also lose her driver’s license for two years, and she’ll be required to drive with an ignition interlock for two years.

The penalties for her DWI in New Mexico might be hard for her to deal with, but what’s much harder to process is that she put a child in grave danger. It’s a good lesson for any parent who has wondered whether or not to drink and drive the kids home. Putting your child in the car with you after you’ve been drinking is never a good idea.

Clearly Someone Likes the New Utah Drunk Driving Law

new-utah-drunk-driving-bacLawmakers in Utah knew they faced an uphill battle when they changed the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) from the US standard of .08 to .05. They would acknowledge that there have been loud detractors to the new Utah drunk driving law, but the overwhelming response to the new BAC has been positive.

Now they have even more proof that it was a good step in the right direction. Thanks to the new Utah drunk driving law, the state will receive the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award. The award will recognize everyone involved in changing the BAC including the Utah Department of Transportation, Utah Department of Public Safety, the Utah Legislature, and the Governor.

Representatives have to travel all the way to England to receive the award, and when they are in Europe they’ll realize that having a .05 legal BAC isn’t that unusual after all. Most European countries, with the exception of England, have their legal BAC set at .05. Scotland has even had a .05 BAC since 2014.

This award is coming at a time when opponents to Utah’s drunk driving law are becoming more vocal. The deadline for the change is December 30th, 2018, and some groups have gone as far as taking out ads in newspapers in an attempt to have the ad repealed.

The problem? Their argument that the .05 BAC unfairly targets moderate drinkers instead of dangerous drunk drivers doesn’t stand up. It’s a fact that any amount of alcohol can affect your driving skills, so even if you’ve only had one or two drinks, you shouldn’t be behind the wheel of a car. The .05 blood limit enforces that fact, and the ultimate benefit of the BAC change will be in how the public perceives drinking and driving.

If someone knows a single drink could mean their BAC is close to or at .05, they might think twice about putting the keys in the ignition. That change in perception could save lives, and saving lives is the goal of any state drunk driving law.

Time will show: Utah is ahead of the curve with their new BAC. Hopefully the rest of the US will follow.

 

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