Last week I blogged about a new Texas law that makes driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol concentration over 0.15 a Class A misdemeanor. It appears to have been necessary.
So far at least 30 drivers in Bexar County have been charged under a new law that doubles the maximum penalty for registering a blood alcohol level of nearly twice the legal limit.
Under the enhanced law that took effect just last Thursday, first-time offenders who have a blood alcohol content of 0.15 or higher in addition to being charged with a Class A misdemeanor, it is also punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
Brian Michael Giles, 29, became the first person charged locally under the new law. He was arrested by San Antonio police moments after the new law took effect.
The law was designed to target people who are clearly not social drinkers. It appears Texas believes that sending these people to court and giving them probation and other alternatives doesn't solve the issue.
Bexar County also has a “no refusal” policy on weekends, which means drunken-driving suspects who refuse to blow into a device to test blood alcohol levels could have their blood drawn.
In order to enforce this law nurses are available to draw blood from drunken-driving suspects who refuse breath tests, including misdemeanor cases that don't involve injuries, if an officer obtains a search warrant.
I will be interested to see if these stricter laws, combined with enforcement has an effect on DUI behavior overall.