New Legislation In 2013 Could Include DWI Penalties

The Texas legislature is considering a range of new motor vehicle safety bills - and, once again, more DWI penalties are a possibility. Despite the safety orientation of this potential legislation, it could have big consequences for DWI defendants in the Dallas area and around the state.

A representative from Katy is pushing to require mandatory ignition interlock devices in some defendants' cars after some convictions. The law would apply to any Texan who receives a conviction for DWI with a blood alcohol reading of more than 0.15.

Ignition interlock devices require drivers to pass a breath analysis test every time they turn on their vehicle. While ignition interlock devices could help keep some people from driving while intoxicated, they represent a serious hardship for many Texans.

In addition to the costs associated with installing the device in a vehicle, most Texans would have to use the ignition interlock several times per day. Any passengers in the vehicle would see this process and know that the driver has a prior conviction.

This proposal is not new. The same representative submitted identical bills twice in the past - the legislation failed both times. It is important to help prevent serious car accidents and ignition interlock devices certainly help seek that goal. However, these devices are expensive and potentially humiliating for many Texans.

Source: Dallas Morning News, "What's around the next curve for Texas drivers?" Brittney Martin, Mar. 3, 2013 

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