Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Texas Senate Approves Bill That Would Allow Sobriety Check Points


The legislators in Texas are tackling a wide variety of issues during this session, dealing with topics ranging from education to immigration to the current economic crisis. Like every other year, some of the bills that are being considered garner a lot of attention and controversy. One example is the bill that was passed by the Texas Senate yesterday that would allow for sobriety checkpoints in our state for the first time in fifteen years. Right now, Texas is one of only eleven states that does not allow for such a guard against drunk driving. The question, however, is whether or not this new law would really address the problem it is meant to help.

The bill approved by the Senate would allow police officers to set up check points for four-hour periods on designated nights. However, federal highways and interstates, bridges, and roads that provide the only way in and out of a particular area would be exempted from the possibility of such a check point. Also, the law would not affect counties with a population of less than 250,000 people and cities that do not have at least 500,000 residents within its borders. These routes constitute a lot of roadway that cannot be checked by law enforcement for intoxicated drivers, including many of our college towns and vacation areas. Does this legislation serve its intended purpose if some of the areas with the most serious DWI problems cannot be monitored? One of the bill's supporters, state Senator John Carona (R-Dallas), believes that the law as written will save up to 300 lives a year. Does this justify the effort, or will the questions raised about the law's effectiveness prevent it from taking effect?

The attorneys at Bertolino LLP are always following the activity in Austin, because we know that the decisions made by our state legislators will affect our clients. If you are arrested for driving while under the influence, either due to your actions behind the wheel or at an eventual check point, our criminal defense attorneys can help. Please contact our Austin, Houston, or San Antonio office to discuss the charges you are facing.

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