According to KVUE, “people in Austin drink more than any other city in Texas, and not just by a little bit.” In 2013 alone, there were over 6,000 DWI arrests. Over the past three years, DWI arrests have increased nearly 24 percent. During this same period: 75 people died in drunken driving wrecks and over 1,900 were injured.
City officials and the Austin Police Department (APD), attribute this high rate of drinking to three things:
- The University of Texas’s large student body
- 6th Street
- Popular festivals: Austin City Limits and SXSW
However, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) believes Austin’s drinking problem is engrained in its culture. MADD spokesperson tells KVUE, “You can go to the barber and get your haircut and get a beer with it.”
In Austin, What Is the Rate of Conviction for DWI Arrests?
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo believes the problem has gotten worse, because not enough DWI arrests have been convicted. Although DWI arrests have increased dramatically over the last three years, over a third of the cases did not receive a conviction.
DWI cases that do not end with a conviction are usually re-filed as other lesser charges. Acevedo says that weak prosecution of DWI offenders is the problem.
David Escamilla, the Travis County Attorney, says that his office has a limited-staff that is responsible for independently reviewing thousands of DWI cases each year.
The prosecutor’s office could do more to ensure there is a higher conviction rate for DWI offenders. As Art Acevedo contends, “Life is about accountability. It’s about paying the price for making a poor choice.”
The Law Offices of Aaron Allison – Austin Personal Injury Attorney