The police chief in Austin is suggesting the “broken” Texas DWI system can be solved by adding more laws. That’s right, he states that adding another crime called Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) could solve some problems that are plaguing the system.
According to the American Statesman, drunk driving arrests are down. But despite this, Chief Acevedo states new legislation would allow them to take more people off the streets than they already do. While this is all suggested in the name of public safety, one has to question the motives when the original .08% legal limit was obviously chosen for the same reason.
Part of the problem, they say, is people are being charged with DWI but getting plea agreements that allow them to plead guilty to lesser charges like reckless driving. The DWAI would give prosecutors another option and would mean the drunk drivers wouldn’t be able to skirt alcohol education and counseling—often required with a DWI sentence.
A state Senator on the Senate Criminal Justice Committee states that there are some people who shouldn’t be able to drive after a single drink and that the .08% threshold doesn’t allow law enforcement to effectively prevent these, less intoxicated people from driving.
However, the Austin police chief goes on to say that some people may drive dangerously at around “0.05 or .06. It depends on the person.” He is right—it does depend on the person. But the .08% legal limit was chosen for a reason, because that is where most people became unable to function normally.
Now, to punish people for driving under less of an influence because some people have lower tolerances will no doubt end up giving out criminal charges to people who weren’t too impaired to drive at all and wouldn’t have been considered drunk under the current laws.
While there’s no bill proposed or written, this is something to keep our eyes on. Will DWAI be the next law that Texans have to watch out for? Will a designated driver be necessary after a single drink with dinner?
Until then, we will deal with the drunk driving laws on the books in this so-called broken system. A first time DWI conviction can have serious repercussions, though it is considered a misdemeanor. If you are facing DWI charges for your first or your third time—you need help.
Contact our offices today speak with a criminal a defense lawyer who can offer you a free legal consultation on fighting DWI charges.