There are more than 1,100 Driving While Intoxicated cases pending in Lubbock County courts. Therefore, this holiday season authorities send an urgent reminder; DWI, you cannot afford it.
Sylvia Mendez will not spend this Christmas with her sister. Instead only her memory remains.
Mendez told NewsChannel 11, "My sister was killed by a drunk driver four years ago and from that day on it's changed our lives nothing is the same anymore."
The loss of Mendez's sister is a painful consequence of drinking and driving. Therefore, this holiday season law enforcement is cracking down.
"If you do drink, don't drive because you are going to lose and you're going to end up in jail," Department of Public Safety Cpl. John Gonzalez said.
Buying a bottle of wine or some beer may only cost a few dollars. However, drinking it and then getting behind a wheel could end with a DWI that ends up costing you thousands of dollars.
"If you want to pay the money to try the case and bring in experts, which you sometimes can do, you can spend tens of thousands of dollars just to defend the DWI," Defense Attorney Sarah Gunter said.
Those convicted of DWI now face a surcharge on top of getting their license suspended. The average fee is $1,500 per year for three years. Between fines and fees, a DWI can cost from $14,000 to $40,000.
A cost that Mendez says is not necessary.
"Don't drink and drive. Find a designated driver. I'll be more than happy to drive people just so that it won't have an impact like it did on our family," Mendez added.
If you are convicted of a DWI you can also face anywhere from 6 months up to life in prison.
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