Summer Heat Brings 78 Felony DWI Arrests in Houston

In Texas, obtaining a felony-level driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge is no easy feat. According to the Houston Chronicle, you must receive two misdemeanor DWIs before the offense is considered a felony, at least in the absence of other factors such as having children in the car or a fatality as a result of intoxication. And yet, Houston police officers had their hands full this summer when it came to handing out DWI felony charges; they logged 78 arrests in June and July alone.

In the state of Texas, driving while intoxicated is defined as operating a vehicle at a blood-alcohol concentration of more than 0.08%. Nearly 80 residents met this benchmark this summer, and the majority of them were third-time offenders—hence the felony charges brought against them. However, some of the arrests were considered felonies not because the arrestee was a repeat offender, but because of the severity of the situation in which the driver drove under the influence. Fourteen of the arrests were made when an adult was found to be driving while intoxicated with a child in the car. Two of the offenders committed assault while they were drunk. One person taken into custody was charged with manslaughter as a direction result of intoxication.

If these numbers stun you, experts say you should buckle up for a long autumn. In an interview with KTV, local DWI attorney Christopher Corso said that football season tends to bring a spike in the number of DWI arrests each year. This statement seems to be backed up by the results of a study by the University of Texas, which concluded that an increase in drinking alcohol on football game days tends to correlate to a higher rate of alcohol-related accidents. Even the Texas Department of Transportation noted that more than 10,000 mishaps occurred last football season as a direct result of alcohol consumption, so Houstonians might not be out of the woods yet in terms of increasing DWI arrests.

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