By Kayli Farris,
The lowest cost of a DWI is about $6,000, including towing, attorney, court, alcohol awareness classes, driver’s license reinstatement, interlock device and insurance fees, said a Fayetteville Police officer.
The legal blood alcohol limit for someone 21 or older is .08 percent, said Sgt. Craig Stout, Fayetteville Police public information officer. The legal limit for those younger than 21, the limit is .02 percent, which is designed to be a no-tolerance policy.
“That about one beer, a glass of wine or a shot, whatever your poison is,” Stout said about the underage blood alcohol limit. “That will put you over the legal limit.”
Receiving a DWI in the past was not as detrimental, said finance instructor Noel Morris. If someone had the right attorney in the right town, the charge could sometimes disappear.
“Well, all of that’s gone,” Morris said. “It doesn’t happen anymore. The courts’ hands are tied, the officers’ hands are tied, it’s going to happen. And you’re going to have to jump through some hoops. I mean, $6,000, my first reaction would be ‘Boy, I hope that last beer was good for six grand.’”
Fayetteville has one of the highest DWI arrest rates in the state, Stout said.
“Us and Little Rock, we’re kind of in competition, but for all intents and purposes, we’ve got a captive audience,” Stout said. “I mean, Dickson Street is like a moth to the flame, just a beacon that draws people down there.”
However, drunk drivers are not limited to Dickson Street.
“On a Friday and Saturday night—and this is a national statistic—between the hours of 9 p.m. and 2 a.m., one out of every 10 cars that you pass on the road has a blood alcohol content of .10 (percent) or higher.”
Police officers will patrol to watch for underage drinking and people drinking and driving, on the last day of fall classes and dead day, Stout said.
“I’m going to go fishing when I’m going to catch fish,” Stout said in reference to dead day.
Officers frequently work as undercover cops at liquor stores and as club security checking IDs, Stout said.
“I may be outside of a club, checking IDs,” Stout said. “And I’m not going to dress like this, I’m going to dress hat on backwards, whatever I’ve got to do.”
December is National Drunk & Drugged Prevention Month, sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Governors Highway Safety Association.
Sponsors designate annual safety weeks, and Dec. 12 through Jan. 1, 2013, is “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, National Crackdown,” according to the NHTSA.
The Fayetteville Police Department receives contracted federal funds through the state highway safety office to patrol during these safety weeks, Stout said.
“We’ve got to work X number of hours DWI in this time frame and go get it,” he said.