According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2010, there were three traffic accident hot spots in Fort Bend County with a total of 29 fatalities. These are concentrated in the area where Loop 610 meets Hwy 6 west of Fresno, in between Sugar Land and Greatwood and in a triangle bounded by I-10, State Hwy 99 and State Hwy 6. Of these, 20, or roughly 70 percent, were attributable to drunk driving.
Unsurprisingly, the Sugar Land cluster of DWI hot spots coincides with a number of bars and restaurants that serve alcohol. All three of the areas where fatal accidents aggregate hug the border with Harris County and the outskirts of Houston, which has a much higher density of population than Fort Bend County.
The Drunk Driving Capital of the United States
Fort Bend County lies in a corridor of southeastern Texas dubbed by Mothers Against Drunk Driving as the “Drunk driving capital of the U.S.” One of the most recent DWI convictions in Fort Bend took place on July 23, 2014, when a 23-year-old Houston man was convicted of driving while intoxicated. He was sentenced to one years probation, during which he must attend a Victim Impact Panel and a DWI education course and also pay a fine of $850.
The defendant had been pulled over on January 21, 2013, for a defective license plate light. Detecting the smell of alcohol in the car and the defendants slurred speech, the deputy attempted to assess him for impairment using a series of field sobriety tests. The deputy claimed the driver was unable to complete the tests and refused to provide a breath sample.
Should You Refuse a Breath Test or Blood Test?
The fact that he refused a breath test may to some people seem like an admission of guilt, but it’s not. One of the first questions you should ask a Fort Bend criminal defense attorney, should you find yourself in similar circumstances, is whether you should decline a breath test. This is a case-by-case decision and involves a number of different factors. Your DWI lawyer in Fort Bend County will be able to tell you which strategy is best for your situation. But there are many problems with breath testing as a science.
One of the problems with breath tests is the prospect of a false high result. If you have been drinking alcohol shortly before the test, even if it’s only a small amount, the machine may register a high score because there is alcohol still in your mouth. If you suffer from reflux or even just burp before a breath test, it is possible that alcohol from your stomach may end up in your mouth and on your breath. Further complicating the situation is that most Texas breath machines do not save the breath sample for independent re-testing at a later date.
In a similar vein, many people refuse blood tests for a variety of reasons, ranging from possible inaccuracy of the test to a fear of needles. You have a general right to refuse all chemical tests and require the police to get a warrant to draw your blood. Your DWI lawyer in Fort Bend County might advise you to refuse a test under these circumstances and force the police to attempt to get a warrant.
When DWI Means Murder
In August 2010, a 23-year-old male motorcyclist was killed when he was hit from behind by a 33-year-old Richmond man driving a pickup truck. The driver of the truck, who initially fled the scene, was eventually apprehended and found to have a blood alcohol concentration of .16 percent, twice the legal limit. He was released on a total of $17,000 bond for intoxication manslaughter and for failure to stop and render aid (FSRA).
The following November, he was indicted for murder and FSRA. Court documents show that the Fort Bend County criminal lawyer in the case filed an objection to the increased bond of $50,000 for the upgraded charge. This may have been the first time in history that Fort Bend County treated a DWI or intoxication manslaughter as a murder case. According to Title 5, Chapter 19, Section 19.02. Murder, of the Texas Penal Code, among other things, a person commits an offense if he “intentionally or knowingly causes the death of an individual.” In March 2014, a jury sentenced the defendant to a total of 23 years in prison, 18 for the murder and 5 for FSRA.
Why you need a DWI attorney lawyer in Fort Bend County
Many people are unaware that simply drinking and driving is not against the law. A certain amount of drinking and driving is permitted, provided you are not impaired to the point that you lose your mental or physical facilties. Many people will erroneously plead guilty to DWI. Once you do, you stand to lose your license and be stuck with the consequences of a DWI on your record for the rest of your life. This is why the first thing you should do if arrested for DWI is to contact a Fort Bend DWI attorney for advice.
The role of the best Fort Bend County criminal lawyers, including those at Scheiner Law Group P.C., is to try to keep a conviction off of your record, while keeping your driving privileges intact. When it comes to your record and your privilege to drive, you shouldn’t take any chances.