DWI Arrests Decline Amid COVID-19

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DWI Arrests Decline & COVID-19

It is no surprise that the stay-at-home orders have drastically decreased Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) charges in Harris County. With bars and restaurants closed, happy hour goers and night-time adventures have been sidelined. The numbers have been especially low during March and April in Houston. There’s been an approximately 45% decrease in alcohol-related arrests. However, with to-go drink orders on the rise, and some stay-at-home orders lifted, how long will this last?

Back to Bad Habits

Unfortunately, Harris County leads the nation in DWI-related arrests and fatalities; it is only a matter of time before this trend is reversed. There is a likelihood that once restaurants, bars, and clubs start operations at normal hours again, people will continue to make the same mistakes they always have. They will get behind the wheel after having too many drinks. More significantly, Governor Abbott’s order that allows for alcohol to be sold to-go, could become a dangerous, long-term problem. As the Governor is considering keeping this measure in place for the long haul, groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving are likely fearing this new reality.

Although on its face, the idea of taking pre-made alcoholic beverages to consume at home is a good one, the notion that people will properly abide by this rule is hard to believe. An open alcoholic container in a vehicle is already a huge concern. Providing more access for people to consume alcohol on the go can be a recipe for disaster.

Social Distancing and Ride Services

Another major concern is that social distancing norms may convince a larger number of people to avoid taking Uber and Lyft ride shares. This will likely increase the chance people will choose to drink and drive home.

So yes, it is likely that DWI arrests will start to creep back up. Unfortunately, it’s likely that intoxication-related road deaths will as well. Every individual needs to take extra precautions during these strange new times. They need to do everything in their power to avoid becoming a statistic. If you find yourself in an alcohol-related arrest, call an experienced lawyer right away and learn about your rights.

The best way to avoid a DWI arrest is to plan ahead and never drink and drive. If you are, however, pulled over by law enforcement after you have been drinking or have purchased alcohol to-go, remember that you have a constitutional right to respectfully decline questions about drinking and refuse standard field sobriety testing.

Do you or a loved one has been charged with a DWI or have general questions about DWI-related offenses? Call Gary Tabakman for a free consultation at 713-526-6300.