Be Advised: Authorities to be out in full force for DWI drivers

The Brownsville Police Department held a press conference Monday to remind drivers celebrating the holidays that drunk driving will not be tolerated by law enforcement. Officials said that anyone caught operating a vehicle while intoxicated will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Cameron County District Attorney Luis V. Saenz was joined by Brownsville Police Chief Felix Sauceda who spoke to reporters inside the police department’s processing and holding area.

“If anybody is going to be driving while intoxicated in Brownsville, you’re going to meet one of these folks,” said Saenz, flanked by a row of officers who will be on patrol over the holidays.

“If you’re going to be driving impaired, it’s going to happen. I guarantee it. You’re going to get arrested, you’re going to get booked, and you’re going to have to bond out. If you work, you’re going to get in trouble with your employer. It’s just something you don’t want to have,” he warned.

According to a press release from Saenz’s office, BPD saw a total of 119 DWI arrests in November, December, and January of 2018.

To date, the department has handled 377 DWI arrests this year and expects another 40 to 60 to be reported by the end of December due to increased enforcement.

The police department is ramping up its enforcement of safe driving practices throughout the holidays as part of a campaign that ends on Jan. 15.

Sauceda reminded the public that Brownsville follows a “no-refusal” policy. If someone refuses to submit to a blood alcohol or breath test, officers will be issued a warrant by on-call judges.

“We want to make sure that we safeguard the spirit of giving, the spirit of joy and the holidays rather than to be mourning a senseless loss of life. So we will be out in full force. We are a year-round, no-refusal county. We have the backing and support of our DA,” said Sauceda.

The severity of a DWI charge can be elevated based on primary, secondary, or third offenses. Previous convictions can enhance the charge to a felony, according to the chief, who also specified that the presence of a child in a vehicle results in an enhancement to the charge as well.

DA Saenz added, “Have a great time, have a Merry Christmas, have a Happy New Year. Let’s make it a safe one. We don’t want to lose anybody.”