On occasions, police in Austin and other Texas cities mount major operations to target drunk drivers. Last year, Austin police arrested more than 200 drivers in the city in a pre-Labor day DWI crackdown. Police also routinely carry our crackdowns around New Year’s Eve.
A special enforcement period lasted for more than two weeks leading up to Labor Day, reported the TV station KXAN.
The station noted Austin police arrested 216 people and charged them with DWIs during the No Refusal Initiative period that ran from 10 p.m. Aug. 18 through 5 a.m. Sept. 5.
Of those who were arrested, 78 had enhanced misdemeanor or felony charges, police said. One of the defendants had a child passenger, while a further 15 had two or more prior convictions and 23 of the drivers had one prior conviction, the report stated.
The majority of the elevated charges — 39 — were for having a breath sample in excess of 0.15. The legal limit is a blood alcohol content of 0.08.
Austin police applied for 97 search warrants during the DWI crackdown allowing them to draw the blood of suspected drunk drivers. The report noted most of the drivers who were pulled over by the police agreed to provide breath or blood samples without warrants.
It’s worth noting that you don’t have to give a breath test if you are pulled over by police in Texas.
However, the Lone Star State has a controversial law of implied consent. If you are lawfully arrested by a state trooper or a police officer and that officer has probable cause to believe you were driving intoxicated, you consent to a test for your blood alcohol content (BAC) is implied.
As well as facing a potential DWI conviction, you will face sanctions for refusing a chemical test.
However, there are some sound reasons for refusing a breath test and instead giving a blood test later. A police officer must obtain a warrant to take your blood. People with borderline BAC tests may fall below the unlawful limit by the time a blood test is taken.
If you refuse a test, a police officer will confiscate your driver’s license and replace it with a temporary driving permit. On day 41 following your arrest, you will have your license suspended for 180 days unless you demanded a hearing. Second time DWI offenders who refused to give a test face a two-year suspension.
During special enforcement periods, blood testing is typically expedited.
Some of these operations net large numbers of suspected drunk drivers. For example, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) troopers made in excess of 640 DWI arrests during a 15-day special enforcement period from Dec. 19 – Jan. 2 2015.
DPS Director Steven McCraw said focused patrols were directed at removing impaired drivers from the roads of Texas. He said:
“These focused patrols are designed to protect public safety by detecting and removing impaired drivers from Texas roadways. The holiday season can be a dangerous time to be on the road because of the increased potential for drunk driving, and DPS efforts during this period helped save lives.”
Find out more about DWI here on our website or call our Austin DWI defense lawyers at (512) 474-4445.