Interlock devices mandatory for DWI second offenders - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Interlock devices mandatory for DWI second offenders


DWI arrests are nothing new to law enforcement, but more second offenders are getting more than they bargained for in the punishment phase, mandatory device monitoring. At their cost. In just the first 12 days of January, 10 interlock devices have been ordered on DWI defendants. That's because the law has changed.

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"The law has required for some time the installation of an interlock device on bond for second DWI's and some felony offenses, it wasn't until September of last year that the legislature passed a law that allowed pre-trial supervision. If you are arrested for your second DWI as a condition of bond you will have an interlock device on your vehicle, you will be supervised you will be monitored for alcohol consumption, this all costs money," says Gregg County court at law 1 judge Becky Simpson.

Select companies like Street Creations in Longview, install and re-calibrate the devices and watch for possible tampering.

"Every 30 days a new device comes in from the interlock company and we take it and, this approximates a particular blood alcohol level that a person would have in their breath," says Street Creations owner Brian Buckers.

These devices come at a substantial cost, not to the courts , or the counties or even the cities , but to the repeat offenders themselves , they have to keep paying the ticket over and over again.

"Before we had the statute but really no effective way to be sure it was being complied with, you really can not afford to get a DWI, bottom line, and you really can not afford to get your second DWI," Simpson says.

And there are more of these currently in use than you might think.

"Through this location I think that we're in the neighborhood of 150 maybe a few more," Buckers says.

"Therefor now we have a way to enforce that law to ensure that the interlock devices are on the vehicles and if there's any violations , that its reported to the judges," says Simpson.

And violations go straight to a judge.

"The numbers have not increased but we are able to now enforce that statute and have it supervised, there are severe consequences for second DWI even before conviction and this is one of them that people need to understand," Simpson says.

Some are short term, some much longer.

"We have had them at 3 years and longer," says Buckers.

"I think we're doing as much as can be done to ensure safety for our streets," says Simpson.

In Gregg County alone , there were 558 cases of DWI on the books from January to December 2011. 198 of them were second offense or more.

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