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Texas begins using new equipment for those convicted of DWI

Those convicted of DWI can face a number of penalties, not limited to jail time or monetary fines. In addition to the social stigma attached to a drunk driving charge, people may have difficulty finding employment or obtaining a driver's license. Now, Texas law enforcement officials are implementing a new piece of technology designed to catch individuals violating their probation for repeat drunk driving offenses.

New portable Breathalyzer technology is allowing probation officers in some Texas counties to monitor people remotely. Those who are sentenced to take regular alcohol tests are sent a text message to blow into the testing device to ensure they are not in violation of their probation. Not only does the device test the person's breath for traces of alcohol, but it also tracks them via GPS technology.

For quite some time, the accuracy of Breathalyzer units, particularly in the context of roadside sobriety tests, has been called into question. It is not unheard of for these devices to get inaccurate or false readings. That uncertainty could land people in jail, even if they are not illegally intoxicated or in violation of their parole. One probation officer who uses this technology says that it is not "fail proof" in every situation.

Knowing that Texas law enforcement is revising their methods to catch people in violation of their probation underscores the serious nature of drunk driving charges. When a person is suspected of drunk driving, it is vital to cover all their bases in order to make sure that law enforcement can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they were illegally intoxicated when they were operating their vehicle.

Not only do DUI charges affect a person in the short-term, but they can have lasting impacts, such as the requirement to take regular sobriety tests for their probation. In order to guard against false readings and a probation violation, those in Texas under home monitoring should ensure they are being treated fairly under the law.

Source: KRIS-TV News, "New Technology Helps Keep Track of DWI Offenders," Janine Reyes, April 6, 2012

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