Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006, 8:41 pm
Tipsy in Texas? You’re Going to Jail.
Don't mess with Texas. And don't get too happy during happy hour in Texas either. Supposedly based on the fact that Texas has the highest number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has begun a crackdown operation on public drunkeness entitled S.I.P.S. Don't let the festive name fool you. Sales to Intoxicated Persons Stings were initiated recently in both Dallas and Austin, with a total number of 30 arrests out of 36 clubs and bars visted in Dallas alone. The perps crime? According to Texas Penal Code, any venue selling alcohol is considered legally as a public place. Therefore, anyone who "appears in a public place while intoxicated to the degree that the person may endanger the person or another" is libale to be arrested. Which makes sense except for the fact that officers can legally make the call as to whether someone is extremely intoxicated without a field sobriety test or breath or blood test, and may arrest the possibly drunk even if they are with a designated driver. As one officer told a Dallas news station: "Rather than working to increase arrests of drunk drivers, it is our intent to decrease the number of drunk drivers by stopping them before they leave the bars." Sound logic! Now let's give police special powers to stop those who "appear to be" criminals from buying weapons or those who "appear to be" terrorists from taking pictures of tall buildings. After all, authority figures on the scene know far better than you, especially since it looks like you've had a few. Oh my, and you're glassy-eyed too. Off to the drunk tank, Texan.