Drunk driving is always a massive problem, just about everywhere, on New Year’s Eve. No matter how many things warn against the extremely dangerous act, people consistently decide to throw caution to the wind and get behind the wheel in any state. However, this year, Houston was working hard to crack down on the number of drunk drivers on the road to keep the city safer. With this said, law enforcement decided to try new methods to keep the roads clean.
With their new methods, in the three days before New Year’s Eve, more than 150 charges were filed.
The District Attorney of Harris County, Kim Ogg, had announced ahead of the holiday that they would be placing hundreds of officers in the street to act as a preventative measure and ideally catch drunk drivers before any serious damage was caused. This new method included the enforcement of a “no-refusal” policy, which meant a police officer will be allowed to stop anyone and if the smelled alcohol on the person or believed them to be drunk, they had the authority to write a warrant and get them to an on-duty judge asap. Drivers were also subject to blood warrants, which is the easiest way to prove someone is intoxicated, as it would reveal the blood alcohol content.
The level of the charges varied, but ultimately charges were plentiful.
According to information released by the office of the District Attorney, around 180 driving while intoxicated charges were issued, just within the city of Houston. On top of that, there were around 45 “no-refusal” blood warrants issued. The DWI charges ranged from first offense misdemeanors to muti offense felony charges. On December 28th, 44 first offense misdemeanors and eight third offense felony charges were issued. These were accompanied by sever no-refusal blood warrants. December 29th saw 29 first offense misdemeanor charges, five second offense misdemeanors, and two third offense felony charges, as well as 23 no-refusal blood warrants. Lastly, December 30th was the night officers were the busiest. There were 63 first offense misdemeanors, 13 second offense misdemeanors, six third offense felonies, and four felonies involving a child. Additionally, there were 15 no-refusal blood warrants issued.
New Year’s Eve itself saw high numbers of charges as well. It is unknown if the new method is one that will stay, or continue to only be used at specific, high-risk times.