As many as 2,500 DWI cases are reported in Montgomery County every year. According to statistics from the Texas Transportation Institute there were 624 DUI-related crashes in the county and 21 fatal crashes in 2015 alone.
According to Texas law, a person commits the offense of DWI if they are operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. Intoxication is defined as not having the normal use of your mental or physical faculties because of the drug or alcohol use, or the blood alcohol concentration level of 0.08 or higher at the time of driving. Drivers under 21 with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system may be charged with a DUI.
“The average number of times someone drives drunk [before they get arrested] is 80 times,” said Kendall Collette, coordinator of volunteer resources for Mothers Against Drunk Driving in Southeast Texas. “We know drunk drivers are out there; it’s a matter of finding them and getting them through the legal system and hoping they’ll change their behavior.”
The number of DWI charges in Montgomery is high and so is the average blood alcohol concentration of the people being arrested (0.172 BAC). This is more than double the legal limit of 0.08, and is also higher than the state average. Not only are people being arrested for drunk driving in the first place, but they are more intoxicated than the average drunk driver.
A prosecutor for the District Attorney’s Office and the County Sheriff believes there are are many factors that contribute to the higher level of incidents regarding DWIs in Montgomery County. One factor is the rural nature of the area. Seventy-four percent of the DWI crashes in the county over the past five years have occurred in areas where there are a lot of trees to crash into, according to the Montgomery DA’s office.
“I think our design leads to it, and our lack of infrastructure on a lot of our roads is dangerous when you aren’t drinking, and sometimes becomes unnavigable when you have been drinking,” said Montgomery County Sheriff Rand Henderson.
Although many crashes occur in these rural locations, the unfortunate reality in our area is that the highway where the majority of crashes that involve a fatality and a driver under the influence is none other than I-45 (Source: Texas Transportation Instute/Community Impact Newspaper). People that find themselves charged with a crime after getting into a accident can face harsh penalties without the assistance of a lawyer experienced in taking intoxication related cases to trial.
If you find yourself with a DWI or other intoxication related charge in Montgomery County or any other county in the Houston area (Harris, Fort Bend, Galveston), give us a call at (713) 225-0650.