ASK A COP: Driving while drinking is drinking and driving
Published 12:05 am Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Ed from Nederland asks: Officer Antoine, I was riding home from work a few weeks ago with a co-worker and he stopped off at a gas station and picked up a beer. My eyebrows went up because I’m totally against drinking and driving. He then opened the can of beer, and that’s when my mouth went into gear. I told him among other things that, “You can go to jail for drinking and driving.” That’s when he started laughing, saying he can’t be taken to jail for drinking and driving because at that point, he’s just started drinking. He told me I needed to chill down and asked if I wanted some of his beer! Officer Antoine, I know several people who have been arrested for drinking and driving. Where he got his information from, I’m not sure. Officer Antoine, have I fallen into a dark hole where I’ve been suspended in time, or is driving while drinking still illegal in Texas?
Answer: Ed, I stand with you that no one should consume any amount of an alcoholic beverage and drive a motor vehicle. Your co-worker was wrong and right in his behavior and answer the other day, and Ed you were right, it is illegal to consume any open container of an alcoholic beverage while in a motor vehicle in Texas. With that said, your co-worker was right being that he just got off work, and it’s safe to say that after a few sips of the beer, he was NOT intoxicated yet! Ed, not many motorists are aware of the two violations someone can’t be arrested for while being a driver or passenger of a motor vehicle. Apparently, your co-worker is aware of one and that’s having an open container of alcohol while in a motor vehicle. This is definitely not a green light to drink and drive because it is still illegal, but if you’re not intoxicated you can NOT be arrested. I stand with the state of Texas and their motto “Don’t Drink and Drive!” Don’t do it because most motorists can’t judge their point to stop the consumption of alcohol beverages before they get behind the wheel. Annually, statistics have proven the dangers of the deadly act of driving while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage. Let’s be the opposite of NIKE and say “JUST DON’T DO IT!!”
Buzzard Boots from Port Arthur asks: Officer Antoine, the other day I witnessed something that still has me scratching my head. I saw two motorcycles in different lanes that were holding hands as they drove down the roadway! Is it illegal in Texas for motorcyclists to ride down the street in two different lanes holding hands?
Answer: I surely understand why this act would leave you with questions. The specific act of two separate motorcyclists holding hands while riding down the roadway is not addressed in the Texas Transportation Code, but depending on the traffic behind the motorcycle in the inside lane, that rider could be charged with “impeding traffic.” Buzzard Boots, there are a lot of acts of safety, other than taking uncalculated risks on roadway while riding motorcycles. Buzzard Boots, if you observe such an act again, please don’t hesitate to contact your Port Arthur Police Department to assure the safety of motorists and motorcyclists on our roadways.
Karen from Port Arthur asks: Officer Antoine, I’m having a debate with my husband about a traffic question. If someone is caught going over 25 miles of the posted speed limit, is this violation an automatic arrest? I’ve been told you will automatically be arrested if you are caught going 25 miles per hour over the posted speed limit in Texas. Of course my hubby disagrees. Please help because a home cooked dinner is pending on your answer.
Answer: In Texas, a driver can NOT be arrested for the charge of SPEEDING, no matter what speeds they are accused of driving. I know that sounds weird, but Texas law is Texas law. So Karen, it sounds like you need to strap on your apron and get your menu ready to cook for your husband because he was right. However, with that said, a driver can be arrested for reckless driving, which is a higher charge than speeding. The Texas Transportation Code defines reckless driving broadly as operating a vehicle with “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” Reckless driving is a traffic misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $200. Now, here’s the twist, if an officer believes you are reckless for going 25 mph over the speed limit, then “YES,” you can be arrested for reckless driving, not speeding.
Officer Antoine will NOT be on the radio today, but join him for Ask A Cop Live on KSAP 96.9 FM every Tuesday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Tune in and listen as he discusses the newly released article. You can also tune in via at ksapthebreeze.org. Call in and ask a question live at 409-982-0247. Email your questions to Rickey.Antoine@portarthurtx.gov or call 409-983-8673, leave a message or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public, you can Ask A Cop!