Changes Could Be Coming To Texas DWI Laws - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Changes Could Be Coming To Texas DWI Laws

Randall County District Attorney James Farren Randall County District Attorney James Farren

Megan Moore
NewsChannel 10

AMARILLO, TEXAS - Significant changes could be on the way for anyone who drives drunk on Texas roads.

State lawmakers heard from a range of people in Austin this week, including prosecutors and police chiefs, who say the current laws have unintended consequences.

One of the most recent laws requires DWI convicts to pay a surcharge to the state, on top of jail time and fines.

In Randall County, where at least two people every week are indicted for DWI, the district attorney says the surcharge has made it more likely defendants will want to go to trial.

Randall County District Attorney James Farren says, "it's one thing if Mr. Defendant looks at a deal from the state, they say "they want me to plead to six months in county jail, but I'll also owe the state a fine. I think I'll just go to trial."

People are also not paying their surcharges, and in turn violating other laws like driving without their licenses or insurance.

Many lawmakers, including Amarillo Republican Kel Seliger, seem to agree on a treatment program for first time offenders.

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