Former Municipial Court Judge

Former Assistant District Attny.

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NTSB recommends tougher DWI laws

Tim Powers

Law Office of Tim Powers


It's a pass or fail test, and requires blowing into a machine with a good hum as well as no alcohol in the system. There's a push for all states to have these devices in cars for all convicted drunk drivers, including first time offenders.

It only took John Blackstock with Smart Start about 15 minutes to install an ignition interlock device. It can usally take about an hour to install the device.

"I thought it was unique business, and is something different," he said. "I just kind of stuck with it."

Blackstock said his business stays busy at times.

"It stays pretty steady." "Like anything else we will get real busy, and then it might slow down for a couple of weeks, and then it picks back up."

In Texas, courts order the installation of these devices for repeat drunk-driving offenders.

Amanda Eldredge with Mothers Against Drunk Driving said, "MADD supports the ignition interlock devices, because you can't start your car, until you prove you are not drunk." "The average drunk driver drives drunk 80 times before their first offense, and on any given day you and I and our families are driving with 2 million repeat offenders who have 3 or 4 more DWI's.

That's why the Federal Safety Board is recommending that 33 states require these devices for all convicted drunk drivers, including first time offenders.

However, not all agree with NTSB. In fact, Sarah Longwell spokeswoman with the American Beverage Institute,
which represents 8,000 restaurants urge lawmakers to reject the recommendation.

"We believe that judges should have the discretion to determine the punishment for low BAC first time offenders," she said. "We think that putting breathalyzers mandating them for all offenders is a one size fits all policy."

"All of the repeat offenders have told me if they would have had something like in their first one, it might have kept them for receiving another one, because it always just sticks with them in the back of their head," Blackstock said.

Blackstock said his clients range from college students to doctors. So far, 17 states not including Texas require interlocks for first-time offenders.

According to the National Traffic Highway Administration, in 2011 there were more than 9,000 fatal drunk driving crashes. Preliminary numbers also show an increase for 2012.

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If you are seeking aggressive criminal representation by an experienced criminal defense attorney for your Denton County DWI case or arrest in Denton County, contact the offices of Tim Powers today. There is no charge or obligation for the initial consultation. 940.580.2899.

*Tim Powers is an attorney licensed to practice law by the Supreme Court of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice about any specific legal question you should directly consult an attorney.