Following the death of one officer and the hospitalization of another due to injuries caused by drunk drivers, the Dallas police force is expanding its DUI unit. In 2021, the unit had just one officer.
What impact might this change have on drivers in the area?
Reason for the changes
In 2021, there were 1,077 people who died in drunk-driving-related crashes in Texas. In 2020, 39% of car accident fatalities resulted from alcohol-related crashes. Texas had the most alcohol-related traffic fatalities in the United States that year. Law enforcement hopes that by expanding the number of officers on the DUI unit from one to seven, they can increase patrols and prevent injuries and fatalities from occurring.
Potential impacts for Texas drivers
Law enforcement arrested more than 89,000 people for DWI in Texas in 2021. Police average 40 to 50 DWI arrests per month and law enforcement hopes that number will increase. More patrols mean that impaired drivers are more likely to get caught and receive a DWI charge.
Penalty for DWI in Texas
A conviction for a first DWI in Texas carries a fine of up to $2,000, loss of driver’s license for up to a year and up to 180 days in jail. The penalties for second and third offenses go up to fines of up to $4,000 to $10,000, loss of driver’s license for up to two years and jail sentences of between one month and 10 years.
Law enforcement hopes that by expanding the number of officers on the DUI unit from one to seven, they can increase patrols and prevent injuries and fatalities from occurring. Additionally, the state has a new vehicular crimes unit that will help law enforcement investigate alcohol-related crashes, which could result in more DWI convictions.