Increased DWI Enforcement for the Holiday season in Montgomery County
Starting Wednesday, November 22, 2017, Montgomery County law enforcement agencies will begin to conduct increased DWI enforcement to hopefully send a strong message to drivers that driving while intoxicated in Montgomery County will not be tolerated this holiday season. These increased operations will continue through January 1, 2018. The Montgomery County District Attorney’s office, in conjunction with both state and local law enforcement agencies, will increase No Refusal Operations and DWI Enforcement throughout Montgomery County – from East to West. The goal of this initiative is to prevent traffic related crashes and deaths caused by impaired drivers during the upcoming holiday season (Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year’s).
During this time period, the District Attorney’s office, through their No Refusal TxDOT Grant, will provide nurses, prosecutors, investigators, and judges at various locations throughout the county to assist law enforcement in obtaining blood evidence in cases were a DWI suspect refuses to provide a scientific sample.
The process is simple, but effective:
1) an officer makes a DWI arrest and asks the suspect for a breath or blood sample;
2) if the suspect refuses, the officer then meets with a prosecutor who drafts a search warrant for the suspect’s blood;
3) the warrant is sent to an on-call judge who will review the warrant for probable cause;
4) if probable cause is found, a nurse will then take a sample of the DWI suspect’s blood.
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These No Refusal Operations ensure that scientific evidence is obtained in all DWI cases and provides the prosecution with strong evidence of guilt or innocence. Many Montgomery County law enforcement agencies have committed to increasing the number of officers on the streets to catch as many impaired drivers as possible, including all five of the Constable’s Offices who have joined together to create a DWI Task Force where Deputies from each agency work together to patrol particular sections of the county looking for impaired drivers.
This Task Force was created at the request of Pct. 1 Constable Philip Cash. Constable Cash sought to have the Constable’s Offices combine the respective DWI enforcement efforts of each agency. “Each of our agencies is dedicated to protecting our community and when we work together and coordinate our efforts we can accomplish so much more” said Constable Cash. This past weekend was the second weekend of the DWI Task Force and the focus area was Magnolia and west county. In addition to deputies from all five of the Constable’s Offices, the Magnolia Police Department and the Department of Public Safety also took part in patrolling for impaired drivers. In total, over a dozen impaired drivers have been taken off the streets as a result of the Task Force’s efforts.
The DWI Task Force as well as many other agencies are receiving up to date data from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office on hotspot areas to conduct DWI enforcement. This type of data has been very helpful in identifying and locating the most dangerous areas in Montgomery County.
Montgomery County by the Numbers:
- In 2016, MOCO had the highest rate of fatalities per population for TX counties with populations over 500,000 and 2nd highest for DWI fatalities
- Since 2010, there have been 193 DWI fatalities in MOCO.
- Most DWI related crashes occurred between 2am and 3am Sunday mornings.
- 74% of DWI crashes occurred in rural, unincorporated areas of MOCO.
- 58% of DWI crashes in MOCO are “one motor vehicle” crashes, meaning only the DWI vehicle was involved.
- 16 is the average BAC for an impaired driver in MOCO in 2017.
Source: J. Tyler Dunman, Assistant District Attorney, Chief, Special Crimes Bureau, Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office