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Avoiding a holiday DWI in Texas: 3 practical tips

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a major issue during the winter holidays. There's a lot of parties, tons of festivities and the "holiday cheer" is usually flowing freely. Consequently, there are around 25,000 people involved in drunk driving accidents every year between Thanksgiving and New Year's.

The last thing you want to do during the holidays is to get into an accident and end up facing charges for drunk driving. Let's talk about how you can keep your loved ones -- and yourself -- out of court. Here are some ideas:

Do you need help with a petition for nondisclosure in Texas?

Do you dread filing out a job application because of what you expect every potential employer to find in your background check? Your offense may have been minor, but how many people take the time to consider that before tossing your resume away? You may experience something like that merely for being charged with some offenses -- let alone after a conviction!

An order of nondisclosure in Texas may help. An order of nondisclosure protects your name and future by helping you eliminate the record of your past mistakes from ordinary background checks. In addition, you may legally deny the arrest ever happened on job applications, loan applications, rental forms and more.

The growing problem of 'opioid diversion' among doctors

Nobody doubts that there's a crisis in the American health care system -- and doctors often bear the brunt of the problems on a day-to-day basis. For some, the pressure simply gets to be too much, and they resort to drugs to manage the strain.

'Opioid diversion," which is the clinical term for what happens when a doctor or other health care professional steals the drugs that are intended for their patients. A 2019 report from Protenus, a data firm, indicates that opioid diversion is an American problem that just keeps getting worse.

Do you know what to do at a DWI checkpoint?

It doesn't matter if you're sober or drunk, there's something about a DWI checkpoint that is sure to make you a bit anxious. Fortunately, when you know what to expect and how to act, you minimize the chance of something going wrong.

Here are five steps you can take to ease the tension at a DWI checkpoint:

  • No alcohol in your vehicle: Make it a habit to never travel with alcohol in your vehicle. For example, an open container of beer in your cup holder is a telltale sign that you're under the influence. Just the same, keep unopened beer in the trunk, as you don't want to give the officer any idea of what your plans are for the evening.
  • Avoid erratic driving: This looks suspicious, so it's imperative to slow down to a reasonable speed, stay in your lane and slowly move toward the stop as directed by the officer.
  • Remain respectful: With frustrations high, it's easy to lose your cool and talk back indignantly to the officer. And depending on how you're treated, you may be compelled to throw all respect out the window. Doing so will increase tension between you and the officer, and that's not a battle you can win.
  • Don't say too much: It's okay to answer basic questions, such as those associated with where you're heading. However, if the officer attempts to dig too much information out of you, it's your legal right to remain quiet.
  • Remain calm if you're put under arrest: If this happens for any reason, such as suspicion of DWI, remain calm and quiet while you're transported to a local police station for processing. Fighting back will only complicate things, as it can result in additional criminal charges, such as resisting arrest.

What's behind the war on drugs?

America's "war on drugs" is the subject of intense debates, with many people feeling like it has, overall, been a disaster.

Drugs are widely available everywhere and there are epidemics of overdoses in some areas. Prescription drugs and illicit drugs alike are still a huge social and health crisis. Aside from being incredibly expensive to enforce, the hard-line approach of many laws that had their roots in that war has led to massive numbers of people incarcerated for low-level drug crimes. The laws also often punish people for merely being addicts, throwing them in jail when they're caught instead of putting them in treatment.

Can you lose your job over a DWI?

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious charge in Texas -- even when it's your first offense. While it's always wisest to abstain from drinking if you're going to be driving, many people make the mistake of having a drink or two with dinner and thinking that they can drive home without detection.

It's only when you're standing at the side of the road with an officer who is demanding that you breathe into a Breathalyzer that you may realize you should have called for a ride instead. Once the reality sets in, its natural to panic about the consequences -- especially if you're worried how a DWI might affect your job.

How does implied consent affect you during a Texas DWI arrest?

The concept of implied consent is a confusing one that many people don't quite grasp. The average person in Texas won't really need to worry about the definition of implied consent or how it affects their rights. However, anyone who finds themselves stopped as part of a sobriety checkpoint or pulled over as part of an enforcement effort could find themselves worrying about chemical testing and their right to refuse.

Texas traffic laws allow law enforcement officers to perform breath tests during traffic stops if they believe someone is under the influence of alcohol. They can also take blood from someone after an arrest in certain situations involving driving while intoxicated (DWI).

What is a deferred adjudication for DWI in Texas?

Texas defendants charged with their first driving while intoxicated (DWI) or boating while intoxicated (BWI) offense will have the opportunity to avoid the most serious consequences of a conviction. Thanks to a bill recently passed by the state senate, first-time offenders can ask for deferred adjudication on their cases.

Deferred adjudication for offenses involving alcohol hasn't been available in the state since 1984. Prosecutors and defendants alike have long felt that disallowing deferred adjudication made it impossible for "the punishment to fit the crime" for many first-time offenders -- especially young people who simply made a mistake when judging their alcohol tolerance. They say that allowing deferred adjudication can help those people avoid a permanent criminal record that could prevent them from succeeding in life.

58 people arrested in Texas on drug-related charges

The United States Department of Justice is playing hardball with anyone they believe is trafficking drugs through "pill mills." In the most recent series of arrests, 58 people -- including at least 16 doctors or other medical professionals -- were charged with diverting 6.2 million opioid pills and also for Medicaid fraud for their roles in what is alleged to be a statewide scheme.

The investigation involved several different federal agencies, including the Department of Labor, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG). This is the second major drug bust to target pill mills in Texas within the last month. Three weeks before the most recent arrests, a Houston Strike Force filed charges against dozens of people believed to have put 23 million opioid pills into the market.

Important reminders about medical marijuana in Texas

Effective Sept. 1, 2019, the drug laws in Texas broadened a bit as the state expanded the list of conditions that will qualify someone for a medical marijuana card.

Previously, access to the state's medical marijuana program, or the Texas Compassionate Use Act, was limited to those with intractable epilepsy. The new law now allows those with terminal cancer, Parkinson's disease, autism and many other conditions to also qualify for a card.