Charged With Felony DUI? You’re Looking At a Long Prison Stretch.

felony duiFelony DUI, also known as felony driving under the influence or felony driving while intoxicated (DWI), is a relatively new charge for many states and one of the penalties Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) promotes in addition to ignition interlock devices for all offenders.

How an offender would receive a felony DUI and exactly what happens when they do receive one depends on the state that offender lives in, but it’s safe to say that it’s an extremely harsh penalty. An offender who is charged with felony DUI can expect to receive thousands of dollars in fines and a stiff prison sentence, and that prison sentence can add up to some real time spent behind bars.

Take a repeat offender in Texas who’s been made an example of for all drunk driving offenders. He was convicted of two misdemeanor driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges within a five-year period, and in 2012 was also convicted of burglary.

During his trial it was revealed that he drove his truck off the road into a parked car, and that parked car was pushed into someone’s home. When it stopped, it was dangerously close to where a nine year old child was sleeping.

When he was arrested police took his blood sample and found he was three times the legal limit at 0.28. He was arrested for felony DUI and after a speedy fifteen-minute deliberation, the jury decided he was going to prison for twenty years.

That’s a long time to ponder why you’d make the decision to drink and drive so many times you’d end up charged with felony DUI, and it’s worth noting that most offenders don’t end up going to prison for this long unless they’ve killed someone while driving drunk.

But it just goes to show: anything can happen when you’re in front of a judge and jury for felony DUI, and this should be an example for every offender who doesn’t want to end up in the same situation.

Texas Driver Arrested For Drunk Driving After She Calls Herself In

Texas arrested for drunk drivingLately Texas is giving Florida a run for its money. The number of drunk drivers in the state has resulted in quite a few odd situations on the roads, and one that happened recently tops them all.

A young female driver in Webster, Texas was sitting in a parked car at 3 am when she decided to pick up the phone and call the police. Why? It turns out that she was trying to get her passenger to drive the car and she was upset because the passenger was not complying. That’s because the passenger was too drunk to drive, but so was the caller. Police showed up at the car shortly after, and not only did the driver get arrested for driving while intoxicated, the passenger was arrested for public intoxication.

Judging from the odd list of offenders who have been arrested in crazy situations over the past few years, drunk driving issues in Texas aren’t going away anytime soon. Take the girl who was drunk driving and decided to Snap Chat a topless photo to her boyfriend. Or the young girl who was arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI), lost her driver’s license, and decided she was going to commute to classes in a pink Barbie car. There’s also the man who got his young son to drive the vehicle because he knew if he was stopped for drunk driving a third time, he’d be charged with a felony.

It’s strange to call yourself in for drunk driving, but at the very least this driver wasn’t stopped while driving her car or, even worse, after she crashed and killed someone. In Texas, just like in other high volume drunk driver states like Florida, it happens all too often.

Friday Fallout: Felony Drunk Driving Charge Hard At Work In Texas

Texas felony drunk driving chargeNot every state offers a felony drunk driving charge for driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenders, but every state should have one. Most drunk driving charges are considered misdemeanors, and the felony charges are reserved for chronic repeat offenders or offenders who are arrested with a minor under the age of sixteen in the vehicle.

Texas has a felony drunk driving charge for its offenders and, judging from the number of felony charges handed out over the past few months, they should be grateful they do. In January, February, and March the city of Houston arrested one hundred and six drivers on felony alcohol charges.

friday-falloutThat’s over one hundred people who were caught drunk driving and are either three times or more repeat offenders or they were drunk driving with a child in the vehicle. Six people were also charged with intoxication manslaughter.

Not far from Houston in San Antonio, even more people were arrested on a felony drunk driving charge. One hundred and thirty two people received the felony charge for drunk driving between January and March in San Antonio, and thirty people were arrested on felony charges during a ten day period in April that marks Fiesta in the city.

These Texas offenders are now in the hot seat in terms of DWI penalties. A third degree felony means that person could go to jail for up to two years and pay fines up to $10,000. You’ll also lose your driver’s license for up to two years and you’ll be required to install an ignition interlock device when you can drive again.

If anyone wants a look at how well a felony charge can work for drunk driving, Texas is a great example. Between ignition interlocks for all offenders and a felony drunk driving charge for repeat offenders or anyone who makes the choice to drink and drive with their child along, Texas really is cleaning up the roads.

The Friday Fallout: Every Friday Guardian Interlock will bring you a unique drunk driving case that demonstrates the impact, or fallout, of drunk driving.

Texas Could Process Drunk Drivers Faster Using New Tech

Texas drunk driversIt’s hard for police to keep their eyes out for Texas drunk drivers, and it’s even harder to finalize an arrest once police have caught one. That’s because police can pull someone over and ask a suspected offender to submit to a breathalyzer test, but that offender has the option of declining. If he or she does decline the police can get a warrant for a blood test, but traditionally that’s been a long and difficult process.

Because of the need for a warrant it takes approximately four to six hours to process a single drunk driving stop, but that could change soon if a new technology is implemented in Texas. Local representatives from Law Enforcement Advanced DWI/DUI Reporting System (LEADRS) are starting to train judges on a new online reporting system that will allow a police officer to send a driving while intoxicated (DWI) blood search warrant straight to a judge.

The officer will be able to stay at the scene of the arrest, send the blood warrant to the judge as easily as sending an email, and after the judge reviews it he or she can sign it and send it back to the officer electronically. Not only will this new tech help police when it comes to court cases, but it will also eliminate the need for the officer to leave the scene, drive the offender to jail, and in some cases, meet the judge somewhere to get a warrant signed.

Something like this could cut the number of drunk drivers on the roads in Texas, and there’s no better time than the present to start a new downward trend in DWI arrests. Since ride sharing services Uber and Lyft pulled out of Austin, there’s been a rash of Texas drunk drivers on the roads.

Could something as simple as speeding up the processing of Texas drunk drivers help change the minds of some offenders who might think there’s a way to get off easily? It’s definitely worth a try.

Texans Should Take Note Of The DWI No Refusal Weekend

Texas DWI no refusal weekendBack in 2007, Texas had a serious problem with drunk driving. With the worst reputation in the entire nation for driving while intoxicated (DWI), both police and lawmakers felt as though they had to come up with something to stop these Texas drunk drivers from offending over and over again. That’s when they came with something called the DWI no refusal weekend.

Texas is already an implied consent state, and that means that anyone who accepts a driver’s license in the state and is arrested for drunk driving will agree to submit to a breathalyzer test. Just like other states, Texas has penalties in place for DWI breathalyzer refusals, and those penalties include an one hundred and eighty day driver’s license suspension for a first refusal and a two year suspension for a second or third refusal.

The DWI no refusal weekend takes that consent one step further by making it mandatory that anyone arrested on suspicion of drunk driving will submit to a blood draw. If you refuse, the police will just get a warrant and draw your blood anyway.

A DWI no refusal weekend can take place at any time in Texas, and you’ll see them popping up when events take place that involve large crowds. One of the areas that recently held a DWI no refusal weekend was a San Antonio strawberry festival, while Austin decided that, after a recent spike in DWI, they needed to make the DWI no refusal a weekly event.

Whatever Texas decides to do to fight back against drunk drivers and drunk driving crashes is a good thing, and along with ignition interlocks for all offenders, implied consent, and DWI no refusal weekends, Texas is making sure it doesn’t end up at the top of the worst states for drunk driving again.

Friday fallout: Texas Ignition Interlock Program Stopping DWIs

Welcome to Texas signTexas is one of those states where drunk and driving seemed to go hand in hand, but that was before Texas lawmakers passed the Texas ignition interlock law in 2015.

The Texas ignition interlock law replaced a penalty system where drunk drivers only received a driver’s license suspension, and it was only if a driver was convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over 0.15 that they would be required to install an ignition interlock.

With the Texas ignition interlock law, all offenders are now required to drive with the device after a conviction, and it sounds as though those offenders are racking up the violations too. According to the latest report on ignition interlocks from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Texas drunk driving offenders were stopped from drunk driving almost 245,000 times thanks to an interlock.

friday-falloutThat means that Texas leads the entire country for drunk driving attempts stopped by an interlock, and it’s giving Texas lawmakers the motivation to make even more changes. They’ve recently submitted bills that would allow a first-time drunk driving offender to choose deferred adjudication or community supervision if they agree to install an interlock for six months.

Unfortunately it doesn’t seem as though everyone is taking their interlock seriously because those 245,000 violations shows there are a serious amount of offenders trying to drive drunk. That could soon change if the state toughens up the Texas ignition interlock law.

That motivation to skip the difficult suspension period and go straight to an interlock could be a lifeline for even more Texas DWI offenders, because having that interlock gives the DWI offender the freedom to continue driving to work, to school, or anywhere they need to. The only restriction is that they drive sober, and that seems to be a difficult task so far for Texas offenders.

Friday fallout: Public Lends A Hand To Stop Texas Drunk Driving

Texas drunk drivingIf anyone knows how dangerous a drunk driver is, it’s someone from Texas. Texas drunk driving arrests have consistently ranked at the top of the charts in the United States, and that’s the reason why the state decided to pass a Texas all offender ignition interlock law.

Obviously the passing of the new law and the ensuing crack down on drunk drivers is having an effect on the people in Texas, because at least a few people seem to be paying attention to what’s happening on the roads right now.

Jonathan Chumley was driving down an interstate in Galveston County, Texas with his family in the vehicle when he noticed a car on the road that wasn’t keeping up with traffic. Cars were driving between 70 and 80 mph, but this vehicle was only doing 30 mph and cars had to swerve around him to avoid crashing.

With his wife recording video, he decided to turn on his emergency lights and tail the car. Calling 911, he stayed with the car until the driver left the freeway and drove off the road. Not long after police showed up and the driver was arrested for his third driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge.

Like a lot of people in Texas, Chumley has a personal connection to the fight against drunk driving. His mother was killed by a drunk driver and the offender only received six years in prison for his crime.

Given the rate of Texas drunk driving arrests, incidents like these are common on the highways, and this driver provides a good example of how to do the right thing when you spot a drunk driver. Always call law enforcement at 911 and take any directions they give while keeping a safe distance. Even if you aren’t 100% sure that the driver could be drunk, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Friday fallout: Offender Gets Unusual Texas Drunk Driving Penalty

Texas drunk driving penalty

Image from New York Post

There are a lot of ways to penalize drivers who make the choice to get behind the wheel while drunk, and those penalties can sometimes include jail time. Because Texas has one of the worst drunk driving records in the entire country, judges have really utilized jail time as a Texas drunk driving penalty so they can crack down on drivers who take a life because of their careless choice.

That’s what happened in Mesquite, Texas recently when Travis Elwell crashed into Emily Javadi while she was standing by the back of her vehicle.

When his blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was taken via breathalyzer after the crash he registered at 0.175. That’s more than twice the legal BAC of 0.08, and he was speeding too. The force of the impact sent her flying into a metal pole, and she died after the crash.

friday-falloutElwell was sentenced to 120 days in jail for the drunk driving crash, and although that doesn’t seem like a very harsh punishment for taking a life, he also made a unique plea deal with the judge and prosecutors. As part of his Texas drunk driving penalty, he will spend one week in prison every year on the anniversary of Javadi’s death.

It will be an annual reminder of his reckless choice to drink and drive, and he’ll sit in that jail cell for one week every single year for nine years straight. In addition to that time in jail he’s also banned from drinking alcohol and he’ll be required to join AA and speak out against drinking and driving at Texas drunk driving support groups.

According to Javadi’s family, this type of punishment is a more positive step for them than watching the offender languish in jail, only to be released on probation. It holds him accountable, lets them know that he remembers that he made the choice to take a life, and hopefully helps them move on after such a tragic loss.

The Friday Fallout: Every Friday Guardian Interlock brings you a unique drunk driving case that demonstrates the impact of – or fallout from – drunk driving.

When You Lose Your $300K Car Because of Drunk Driving

drunk driving ferrari

Before

As the saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas. Whether you’re in Dallas, Houston, or Austin, the state has bigger ranches, bigger cities, and they even have bigger drunk driving crashes.

Case in point? One man in Austin made the decision to drink and drive, and it’s going to cost him in a bigger than Texas way. He’s been charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) after he drove his rare car, a 2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale, into a ravine.

Just how rare was the car he totaled because he was drunk driving? To replace it will cost the owner, or his insurance company, approximately $358,000. Yes, the car he crashed is worth more than some people’s homes, and it’s now a twisted piece of metal thanks to drunk driving.

drunk driving ferrari crash

After. Image from foxnews.com

The drunk driving crash happened in the early hours of the morning, and the owner of the vehicle was driving at well over one hundred miles per hour when he failed to navigate a turn and flew over forty feet before he flipped into the ravine below. He wasn’t alone either; with three passengers inside the small interior, he’s fortunate that everyone managed to walk away with minor injuries.

After the incident the Austin police department decided that this was definitely a crash worth sharing, and they posted the crash photos on their Facebook page along with the hashtag #thisisnotferrisbuellersdayoff.

Austin has seen its fair share of drunk drivers since designated driver services Uber and Lyft ceased operations in the city last year. Police have noted a spike in drunk drivers in past months, and they believe it’s because there are limited choices for people to get home after a night out.

That may be why this man made the choice to get behind the wheel of such a valuable vehicle while drunk, but no matter why he decided to do it, he’s now the proud owner of a mangled heap of metal and has learned a valuable lesson: don’t drink and drive.

Friday Fallout: Tostitos Bag Asks You To Not Drink And Drive

tostitos party safe bagBesides watching football, drinking on Super Bowl Sunday is a familiar ritual. There are tailgating parties, pub events where you watch the big game, and pre and post-game parties where you celebrate or drink away your sorrow at your team losing. Because alcohol is such a huge part of Super Bowl Festivities, big brands take part in a little double duty media where they promote their brand and, at the same time, ask the public to not drink and drive.

You’ve probably seen the Budweiser commercials that ask you not to drink and drive, but this year there is something new on the horizon: Tostitos, Uber, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have partnered to create something called the “Party Safe” bag for Super Bowl snackers.

That bag has the power to fulfill your munchie craving with delicious tortilla chips, but it also has the power to detect if you’ve been drinking. How is that even possible? Each party bag has alcohol sensors and those sensors are able to detect any trace of alcohol on a person’s breath.

If you haven’t had any alcohol at all and you’re eating your chips, the bag will turn green and you can go ahead, grab your keys, and drive home. If you’ve been drinking and the bag turns red, it will show the message “Don’t Drink And Drive.” The bag will then offer you a $10 credit for an Uber ride that’s only valid on February 5th; SuperBowl Sunday.

Incredibly, the bag also has NFC (near-field communication) technology built in. For the non-tech savvy, that means the chip-eater can just tap his or her phone against the chip bag to call Uber.

Although this is a really unique way to draw attention to the fact that you need to find yourself a ride home after drinking, there’s also one important thing to keep in mind: the bag will not measure your blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

That means you shouldn’t really use a bag of Tostitos to determine whether you should drink and drive. Not only is there the possibility it might not detect the alcohol on your breath when you’ve been drinking, there’s no safe amount of alcohol you can drink before you should drive.

Enjoy Super Bowl Sunday by planning for your ride home before you drink, and if your Tostitos bag does turn red, you won’t have to worry about how you’ll get home.

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