What You Need To Know If Attending Spring Break In Galveston
By: Mark Diaz
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What You Need To Know If Attending Spring Break In Galveston
Spring break at the beach in Galveston offers college students plenty of fun, sun, and relaxation. However, many college students drink and use drugs when on spring break. As a result, you could have a DWI/DUI or drug possession conviction if you break the law. Unfortunately, your spring break fun just turned into a nightmare. Because one person dies in Texas due to a drinking-related accident every 8.5 hours, the State takes drunk driving extremely seriously.
This article tells you critical things about attending spring break in Galveston. If you get arrested, however, our Galveston DWI lawyers at Mark Diaz & Associates will fight for your rights.
Zero Tolerance In Galveston For Minors With Drugs And Alcohol
Galveston is no joke when it comes to minors possessing alcohol and illegal drugs. It is illegal in Texas for drivers under 21 to have any amount of alcohol in their system. If the police discover any detectable amount of alcohol in your system, you will be charged with Driving Under The Influence of Alcohol By A Minor. This is called DUI and this term is often used interchangeably with DWI, however, they are two distinct and different offenses. If accused, you will be taken to jail. Next, the police will ask you for a breathalyzer test or take you for a blood test at the hospital.
Texas has an implied consent law for minors. It means that if you are arrested for DUI, you have automatically consented to take a breathalyzer or blood test. You will lose your driver’s license if you decline to take the tests. You may even be put in jail.
Galveston Has No Refusal Operations For Every Suspected Drunk Driver
It is common for Texas to have No Refusal Operations set up at popular destinations during spring break. This means the police can obtain blood test warrants immediately for drivers who will not take chemical or breathalyzer tests. If you get a first-time DWI on spring break, you can get jail time, a suspended driver’s license, legal costs, court costs, and your vehicle will be impounded. A DWI on spring break can easily cost thousands of dollars!
Spring Break DWI Crackdown In 2022
Harlington, Texas, near the popular beach destination South Padre Island, announced last year it would focus for a month on DWI patrols. Police focused on areas during spring break with the highest risk of alcohol and drug-related auto accidents.
The Texas Department of Public Safety also has boosted efforts to take drunk drivers off Texas roads, including during spring break. In 2021, state troopers arrested more than 1,3,80 drunk drivers. More patrols were the biggest reason for at least 170 additional DWI arrests.
In Galveston this year, you can expect local and state police to enforce drunk and drugged driving laws aggressively. So the best thing to do on spring break in Galveston if you have been drinking is to take an Uber or cab back to your hotel. Getting a safe ride home has never been easier, so take advantage.
Galveston Proposing Crackdown On Drunk Driving
People on spring break in Galveston this year also should know that Galveston City Council and police officials met in 2022 to discuss cracking down on drunk driving. Drunk drivers killed at least six people in August 2022 on the island.
Galveston Police Chief Doug Balli noted during the meeting that his department intended to increase police presence on the streets. He said they planned to add patrols 24 hours per day and have at least 14 police officers looking for drunk and drugged driving. He hoped people would become aware of the increased patrols and refrain from drunk driving on spring break and throughout the year.
Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Wants More Surveillance Cameras At Bars
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) had representatives at the same Galveston meeting and said it wanted to encourage bars to have more surveillance cameras inside and outside establishments in Galveston. TABC reps said if there were more cameras in bars being monitored by the organization, it would be less likely that bartenders would overserve patrons.
What Are The Penalties For A First-Time DWI Offense?
On spring break in Galveston, you should also remember that Texas has severe penalties for drunk driving, even for a first-time offense. They include:
- Up to a $2,000 fine, in addition to a $3,000 statutory fine in certain circumstances
- Jail time of up to six months
- Losing your driver’s license for up to a year
- Expect to spend up to $15,000 for legal and court fees, higher insurance, alcohol, and drug abuse classes, and possibly bail
Also, a first-time DWI is a Class B misdemeanor, so the license suspension will be for at least 90 days. Even if you are acquitted of the charge, you can have your license suspended if you had a high blood alcohol content.
A first-time DWI conviction also can lead to probation and alcohol treatment. In addition, you can lose your license for months if you do not attend the classes.
What Are The Penalties For A 2nd DWI Offense?
A second DWI is Class A misdemeanor. You will receive up to $4,000 fine and jail time of up to a year. A second conviction means your license will be suspended for 1.5 years. You need to pay $100 for your license reinstatement.
What Are The Penalties For A 3rd DWI Offense?
A third DWI conviction is a grave situation. It is a third-degree felony resulting at least two years to 10 years in prison. The fine is $10,000. A related charge is intoxication assault, which means you seriously injured someone when driving under the influence. The penalties are the same as a third-time DWI.
Even worse is if you are convicted of intoxication manslaughter. This means you killed someone by accident when you drove drunk in Texas. It is a second-degree felony; you can get up to $10,000 in fines and a two to a 20-year prison sentence. Also, expect hundreds of hours of community service.
Texas Is #13 In DWI Penalties In The US
If you are still thinking about getting behind the wheel while drunk in Galveston on spring break, consider this: Wallethub.com reports that Texas is the #13 strictest state for drunk driving penalties. This might be because Texas realizes it has a severe drunk driving problem. The Lone Star state has the following dubious distinctions:
- 14th-highest rate in the US for drunk driving
- 15th-highest rate for drunk driving deaths
- More drunk driving deaths than any other state – more than 1,000 per year
- More than 40% of all Texas traffic deaths are related to drugs or alcohol
Drug Possession Charges During Galveston Spring Break
Hopefully, you are convinced that driving drunk in Galveston on spring break is a bad decision. However, you should also tread cautiously if you take illegal drugs during your fun in the sun.
Texas has serious penalties if you are convicted of drug possession. The penalty depends on the type and quantity of drugs. For instance, if you are arrested carrying less than a gram of cocaine, you can receive up to a $10,000 fine and two years in prison. For possession of 400 grams, the fine can be $100,000 and at least 10 years in prison.
Also, do not think that Texas will look the other way for possessing marijuana. You still can receive a stiff jail sentence for carrying weed. For example, possessing less than two ounces is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by 180 days in jail and a fine of $2,000.
How Can A Galveston Criminal Defense Attorney Help You?
If the worst happens and you are arrested for DWI or drug possession on spring break, all hope is not lost. A Galveston criminal defense lawyer knows the laws and courts in the area and may help you reduce or beat the charges. For instance, your attorney may use one of more of these defenses for a drug possession charge:
- You did not know you were carrying the drugs.
- You did not mean to take the drugs or have anyone in your group take them.
- According to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, there is a legal reason for you to use the drugs.
- You were carrying marijuana for medicinal purposes.
- You have a doctor’s prescription to use the drug.
If you are arrested for drunk driving on spring break, an immediate call to a local defense attorney will help you immensely. Some defenses for DWI charges include:
- Challenging the accuracy of the field sobriety test.
- Challenging the accuracy of the blood test.
- Questioning the breathalyzer equipment and how the police conducted the test.
- Lack of probable cause for the traffic stop.
- Proving that a car accident related to drunk driving was not your fault.
- Using police reports questioning the officer’s testimony.
- Arguing that the police engaged in an unreasonable search and seizure.
Speak To Our Galveston DWI Lawyers Today
Enjoy the sights of Galveston on spring break, including Bishop’s Palace, and Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier. But if you go on spring break in Galveston and find yourself on the wrong side of the law because of DUI or drug possession, you need skilled legal criminal counsel immediately. A DUI or drug possession conviction in Texas can ruin your life. Please contact our Galveston DWI lawyers at Mark Diaz & Associates for legal assistance at (409) 515-6170.