Regions of Texas score low in national DWI data

Texas readers might be surprised by a recent compilation of DWI statistics.

Based on data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, a researcher allocated DWI accidents between 2001 and 2010 by state. According to that compilation, certain areas of Texas ranks among the highest in the nation in frequency of DWI collisions. Indeed, a significant number of arrests are made in Texas and across the country for driving while intoxicated.

Nationwide, the FBI estimates that 1.41 million drivers were arrested in 2010 for this criminal offense. Yet authorities also estimate that the number of DWI offenders who are not apprehended may be far higher, perhaps as many as 112 million instances of driving over the applicable legal limit for blood alcohol content.

The demographic of DWI offenders may also surprise Texas readers. Based on data collected by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, almost one-quarter of DWI offenders were aged 21 to 25, representing the largest segment of offenders.

Regardless of age, however, the consequences of getting a criminal record because of a DWI offense might be long-term. For example, a criminal record might make it harder to get a job, qualify on apartment rental applications, or obtain financing.

An experienced DWI defense attorney will hold prosecutors to their burden of proof on the procedural aspects of a DWI stop, including any field sobriety testing and the subsequent arrest. An attorney might also be able to present mitigating factors to the jury. If a conviction can’t be avoided, an attorney might also be able to obtain expungement or nondisclosure of an arrest or conviction, so that a person’s DWI offense doesn’t result in a permanent criminal record.

Source: The Atlantic, “The Geography of Drunk Driving,” Henry Grabar, Dec. 31, 2012