A deputy police chief in South Texas is asking state lawmakers to consider setting up permanent DWI checkpoints.
The San Antonio deputy chief recently appeared before the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. The man hopes that legislators will allow officers to stop drivers and perform sobriety tests on a routine basis in areas susceptible to drinking and driving. Although the man did not have an exhaustive list of such areas, he believes local data could be used to identify hot spots for such behavior.
The deputy chief argues that permanent DWI checkpoints will save lives. With 7,000 arrests for driving while intoxicated in San Antonio alone this past year, many Texas readers might agree that there is a need for stepped-up enforcement against drunk driving.
However, not everyone agrees with the deputy chief. A spokesperson for the Texas Civil Rights Project argues that permanent sobriety checkpoints invite an abuse of police power, granting officers with too much discretion for manipulating which drivers they might pull over for routine sobriety checks.
The deputy chief's request will be considered by lawmakers when they reconvene in January. Yet even if it doesn't pass, the enforcement of DWI behavior in Texas will likely remain aggressive. Those charged with DWI have serious consequences to defend against.
However, DWI defendants must remember that any charges are mere allegations unless and until the prosecution can prove otherwise by competent evidence in court. An attorney who understands the law surrounding the charges, as well as the type of evidence that is admissible in court, can help a DWI defendant prepare a strong defense.
Source: Insurance Journal, "Texas Deputy Police Chief Wants Permanent DWI Checkpoints," Dec. 7, 2012