Whenever I am picking a jury for a DWI case I always ask the question concerning how many people think that someone should not drink at all if they get behind the wheel of vehicle. Without fail I can count on one brave person to publicly admit that despite knowing the law they feel that a person should not drive despite having a drink. They understand that is only against the law for person to drive while intoxicated, but this is their personal opinion. The reason I call this person "brave" is because it is difficult to share such a conservative point of view and it typically leads to other people agreeing with the first person that shares this position. Despite representing people that are accused of driving while intoxicated am not naive enough to think that someone else in in the jury panel shares this position.
Interestingly, the Austin, Texas police chief, Art Acevedo, agrees with this position to an extent. He is trying to make drinking and driving a crime. He is pushing for a new crime of driving while ability impaired (DWAI). His goal is to make anyone that blows under the legal limit for driving while intoxicated that is currently .08, but between the limits of .05 and .07 a jailable offense. What I find curious about his position is that he does not propose a penalty for the crime. Is he suggesting that this crime be a class "B" or a "C"misdemeanor? I bet his goal is to make DWAI a class "B" which is the same as a first offense for driving while intoxicated. I find it more likely that his goal is to increase the punishment for a first time charge of driving while intoxicated to a class "A" misdemeanor. If this is the case, I would imagine he would also want a second charge to be increased to a state jail felony from the current class "A" misdemeanor level . Currently, the only state felony charge associated with a DWI is one where there is a child passenger.
If Acevedo's proposal is made law it would make it illegal for most people to have a drink and drive in Texas. Is that what most people want to see in our State?
If you would like to talk to a lawyer about your Harris County, Texas drunk driving case please call our office at (713) 242-1779.