Texans on Sobriety Checkpoints Survey

December 21st, 2015 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense, DWI, Underage Drinking, Understanding Texas Law

At the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates, we regularly represent people that have been accused of drunk driving and other crimes. In order to better understand our clientele, we conducted a survey in which we asked Texans whether they would vote for a bill that would introduce sobriety checkpoints to Texas if it were introduced today.

A slight minority (48.5 percent) of respondents indicated that they would vote for such a law. Interestingly, adults over 65 voted “yes” significantly more often than those aged 25-34, and women were substantially more likely to support Texas DWI sobriety checkpoints, with 57.1 percent of women voting “yes” and 39.3 percent voting “no.” We created a visualization to represent the data we collected from over 10,000 local respondents.

 

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Texas Sobriety/DWI Checkpoints

Sobriety checkpoints are a hotly contested issue, both as a matter of public policy and from a legal perspective. While supporters of Texas sobriety checkpoints argue that they perform a vital public safety function by getting drunk drivers off of the road and acting as a deterrent, opponents argue that they are an imposition on law-abiding drivers and are Constitutionally questionable at best.

Texas is one of a few states that does not utilize sobriety checkpoints. While legislators regularly introduce bills that would authorize such checkpoints, the state legislature has yet to authorize such a provision. As a result, many people who live in Texas have not experienced going through a DWI checkpoint. There are, however, significant other law enforcement efforts that target impaired driving, and individuals are arrested under suspicion of drunk driving on a daily basis throughout the state of Texas.

A Texas DWI Can Have Significant Legal Consequences

Individuals that have been accused of drunk driving are often facing extremely serious legal consequences. For this reason, it is extremely important for anyone that has been arrested under suspicion of DWI to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. Some of the more common consequences that drunk drivers face include the following:

  • Probation;
  • Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device;
  • Community service;
  • Drug and alcohol counseling; and
  • Jail time.

The Collateral Consequences of a DWI Conviction

Most people are aware of the fact that a DWI can result in serious legal consequences, but less commonly understood is the fact that a DWI conviction can have a significant impact on almost every aspect of your life. For example, people who are convicted of DWI may suffer significant professional consequences. For example, more and more employers are conducting full criminal background checks on potential employees, and a DWI conviction may disqualify a person from employment. Even if it is not an automatic disqualification from consideration for a job, a DWI conviction certainly will not help a person obtain employment. Furthermore, many workplaces have a code of conduct that prohibits employees from engaging in illegal activity, and employers do not want to be associated with individuals who have a reputation for illegal or careless behavior. For this reason, a DWI conviction could very well result in termination or other adverse employment action.

For people who are in school or planning on going to college or graduate school, a DWI conviction is a very serious issue. Like employers, many schools have policies that prohibit their students from drinking and driving, so a DWI could have the impact on suspension or expulsion. Furthermore, many academic programs inquire about an individual’s criminal history, and a DWI conviction could result in the denial of admission.

Importantly, people who are planning on attempting entering regulated professions such as medicine or law need to consider the impact that a DWI conviction may have on their professional ambitions. Many state regulatory bodies frown upon criminal misconduct, and any evidence of an issue with drugs or alcohol may result in the denial of a professional license.

Finally, a criminal conviction is a matter of public record. This means that anyone with an internet connection and sufficient curiosity could learn about the existence of a DWI conviction and even perhaps embarrassing details regarding your case. For this reason, even people who do not have professional or academic aspirations should do everything possible to avoid a conviction. The existence of a conviction on your record can have a significant impact on a person’s reputation within his or her community.

An Experienced Attorney Can Help

Fortunately for people that have been accused of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, there are often many potential legal defenses available. For example, an attorney may be able to successfully argue that the initial traffic stop was unjustified, making any evidence that was gathering through the stop inadmissible against you. Some other potential defenses in a DWI case include the following:

  • Introducing evidence that any signs of intoxication were the result of a medical condition or other issue;
  • Calling the accuracy of any chemical testing that was performed into question;
  • Impeaching the credibility of the officer who investigating your case; and/or
  • Arguing that the officer that stopped you lack the training and experience to conduct field sobriety testing or to administer a breathalyzer test. 

Of course, the specific defense or defenses that may be available in your situation depends on the circumstances of your DWI case. When you retain an experienced DWI lawyer, he or she will thoroughly analyze the circumstances of your case and determine how best to proceed. In many cases, the assistance of an attorney can result in the negotiation of a favorable plea arrangement that avoids the most serious potential consequences of a DWI. In some cases, your DWI lawyer may even be able to have a case dismissed or dropped.

Experienced Criminal Defense in Houston, Galveston & League City

It is critical for anyone that has accused of drinking and driving to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. In many cases, the assistance of an experienced attorney can have a significant impact on the outcome of a case. Texas lawyer Tad Nelson is committed to helping individuals protect their legal rights and securing the best possible result in each case he takes. To schedule a free consultation with a Houston criminal defense defense attorney, call the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates today at 281-280-0010.

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