Fewer DUI and DWI arrests have occurred during coronavirus shutdowns than during the same timeframe in 2019. However, the reduction and DWI charges in Texas is not as significant as some experts predicted. Law enforcement officers continue to arrest drivers under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Texas residents convicted of DWI charges continue to face jail time, fines, and revoked driving privileges during the outbreak. Texas law enforcement agencies may strengthen their DWI enforcement efforts during and after the coronavirus pandemic.
No-Refusal Periods in Texas
If you are arrested for a DWI during the coronavirus pandemic in Texas, you may be subject to a no-refusal period. In Texas, this means that law enforcement can obtain warrants to quickly draw your blood and test its alcohol content if you are suspected of drunk driving. Law enforcement officers typically use these methods to test the blood samples of suspects who refuse to provide a breath or blood sample. They often utilize no-refusal periods during holiday weekends when they anticipate more intoxicated drivers.
Throughout no-refusal weekends, judges are on call and readily available to sign search warrant affidavit. So enforcement officers can quickly obtain blood or breath samples from suspected drivers who do not consent. No-refusal testing may still be considered an illegal search and seizure, even though a judge signs the affidavit. When law enforcement officers do not have enough evidence to conduct the search, the defendant can argue that the evidence was illegally obtained and must be discarded.
DWI Enforcement Post-COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic will likely have far-reaching repercussions in all areas of our lives, including in the area of DWI enforcement. Restaurants have been able to serve to-go alcohol to customers after Texas’s Governor issued an executive order allowing them to do so. Not allowing to-go alcohol orders prevents DWIs from occurring due to people drinking in their vehicles. Many law enforcement officers are now on the lookout for drivers who are actively drinking to-go alcohol beverages and driving. Law enforcement officers may mistake a to-go alcoholic beverage as evidence that a suspect is drinking and driving.
Additionally, when every Texas bar reopens to full capacity, law enforcement may anticipate customers drinking too much to make up for the lost time they have spent sitting at home. We will likely see more stringent DWI prevention efforts as we continue to face the coronavirus pandemic. No-refusal periods could become more commonplace, and law enforcement may engage in more vehicle pullovers.
Contact a Plano DWI Lawyer Today
If you are facing DWI charges in Texas, you need an experienced lawyer on your side. Contact the Denton County DWI defense lawyers at Abel Law Firm today to learn how we can fight for your rights.