Impacts of the Pandemic on Impaired Driving

Click on the links below to read some interesting news articles about how the COVID-19 pandemic has (or has not) impacted the number of DWI arrests in various parts of the state.

Fewer DWI’s in El Paso During COVID-19 Pandemic

DWI Arrests During Pandemic Down 41%, Recent Data Shows

DWI Numbers Rising Quickly as Houston Reopens

DWI Arrests in Austin Doubled the First Weekend Bars Reopened in May, New Data Shows

Despite Pandemic, Drunk Driving Numbers Still Up in North Texas

Pandemic Has Not Stopped DWI Epidemic

 

Upcoming National Judicial College Webinar: Access to Justice in Impaired Driving Cases – Costs of Pre-Trial Conditions

The National Judicial College (NJC) will be presenting the following webinar in August:

Title: Access to Justice in Impaired Driving Cases – Costs of Pre-Trial Conditions

Date & Time: Wednesday, August 19, 2020 at 11 a.m. CDT

Course Description: This NJC webcast, funded by NHTSA, will focus on the delicate balancing act of imposing pre-trial conditions on impaired drivers in traffic courts and the obstacles they often face in complying. This course will explore innovative and creative approaches to these cases while in the pre-trial stage and ways to avoid often crippling legal financial obligations and cost prohibitive conditions before final adjudication. This course will also address some of the practical challenges presented in imposing some conditions.

If you are interested in attending the webinar, you can register here.

Research Being Done on Tests to Detect Marijuana-Impaired Driving

Impaired Driving is not only caused by alcohol, but by any substance use that results in impairment. But effectively testing for impairment caused by substances other than alcohol can be difficult. Click on the link below to read an article about marijuana-impaired driving and the research that is currently being done to develop an effective test for it.

This Cannabis Saliva Test Could One Day Be Used To Detect Impaired Driving

TJCTC’s DWI Bond Condition Program

TJCTC’s DWI Bond Condition Program is a part of a statewide effort to reduce the incidence of DWI offenses in Texas counties in adopting a comprehensive plan for setting, monitoring, and enforcing bond conditions in DWI cases. The program is free for counties and promotes the use of bond conditions (such as ignition interlock devices) that reduce the incidence of DWI recidivism, increases consistency in setting bond conditions by a magistrate and a trial court, and ensures that bond conditions required by law are properly set, monitored, and enforced.

The program web page includes additional details, including a video about the program, and tells you how to contacts us if you would like more information or are interested in signing up. We have also recently updated the web page with a new map that shows all of the counties that are currently expressing interest or participating in the Program.

Please click here to visit the web page!

Family Violence Reporting

Many of you probably remember hearing about the new (to justice court) requirement to report class c assault family violence cases to DPS at TJCTC’s Legislative Updates last summer.

For any offense committed on or after September 1, 2019, the court must report information regarding a person’s citation or arrest for class c assault family violence to DPS within 30 days of the disposition of the case. Code of Criminal Procedure 66.252.

This information will be reported to DPS either by completing the CR-43 form initiated by law enforcement or reporting directly online to the Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS). DPS has regional representatives who can provide training and get your court set up to report online.

Because we do not have access to the CJIS system at TJCTC, we are unable to answer technical questions about the system or how the reporting works. However, we are in the process of working with DPS to create a webinar for justice courts related to the reporting process.

You can find more information about reporting and the necessary forms on the DPS website, here.

If you would like contact information for your regional representative, please email Amber Myers at A_M1814@tjctc.org.

Another good resource for practical information on reporting these cases is your county or district clerk as they report the same information on case dispositions in their respective courts.

 

 

TAC Cybersecurity Training Registration Open

Did you see the Texas Association of Counties’ (TAC) legislative newsletter today? It announced that registration is open for TAC’s cybersecurity training course that is certified by the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR).

This course satisfies the annual cybersecurity training requirement for county employees and is free to all Texas counties.

Click here for more information.

February 2020 Spotlight – Gwen Hughes, Clerk, Dawson County

Gwen Hughes, Clerk 2
Dawson County

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF

I was born and raised in Lamesa.  I have lived in Austin, San Antonio, Tyler, Scottsdale, Arizona, and Crescent City, California.  California was nice for a West Texas girl because I could hear the ocean and the sea lions from my yard, I was ten minutes from the redwoods, and it rained almost 24/7.  It was like living in a rain cloud.  I have worked in real estate, insurance regulation, the medical field, and solar farm construction.  I am single, have one son and two shih tzus.  I like to garden, read, and spend time with friends.  I came back home to Lamesa to care for my mom.

WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A CLERK?

I was searching for a job that would make a difference in people’s lives.  The clerk position in the Justice of the Peace office became available, and I applied.  It has been interesting and rewarding.

 WHAT IS SOMETHING INNOVATIVE, INTERESTING, OR FUN YOUR OFFICE DOES?

My office loves to celebrate holidays and birthdays.  Our clerks decorate for those celebrations which creates an enjoyable, cheerful atmosphere.  The public appreciates our cheerful office.  The judge sets the tone for the office as a helpful, happy place to work.

WHAT IS THE BEST PART OF YOUR JOB?

My co-workers are the best part of my job.  We are blessed to have a great staff.  Each one has a unique personality.  They come to work with a good attitude, smiling faces, and ready to solve the challenges of the day.

WHAT MAKES A GOOD CLERK?

Patience is a very good quality to have as a clerk.  We are the only Justice of the Peace office in Dawson County.  We are a high-volume office with many phone calls and walk-ins asking questions and taking care of their business.  We do our best to help each one in the most pleasant, accurate way possible.

January 2020 Spotlight – Constable Lee R. Callan, Menard County

Tell us a bit about yourself:
My name is Lee R. Callan. I am a native of Menard County, Texas. I grew up on my family’s ranch which is located on a railroad depot at Callan, Texas. I am 5th generation rancher and own a material construction business. After high school, I graduated from Angelo State University where I assisted the collegiate track team. I enjoyed serving on the board of directors for West Texas Boys Ranch. I am a Master Peace Officer and certified TCLOE Instructor. Currently, I am attending the Texas Association of Counties Leadership 254 Class. I am Texan to the core but I cheer for LSU and went to the National Championship game. GO TIGERS!

What made you decide to become a constable?
My interest and service in law enforcement comes from a family tradition. My great, great grandfather was a Texas Ranger and founding judge of Menard County. My grandfather was a practicing attorney. About 20 years ago, I was encouraged by a Justice of the Peace to run for Constable. I went to the law enforcement academy “later in life” in order to become a certified peace officer. I want to give back to my community which has given so much to me.

What is something innovative, interesting, or fun your office does?
I am a pilot and I use my R44 helicopter to assist law enforcement in this and surrounding counties when I can for search and rescue missions. I was able to locate a four year old girl that had been missing for about five hours in a rural area. She was about a mile and a half from her house in the middle of pasture and it was near dark. I used to scuba dive and was part of group of volunteers that was asked to locate a deceased person in a large lake.

What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is the people I serve, not only in Menard County but the great State of Texas. Menard is a small town and I enjoy knowing just about everyone. On Halloween, I drive around to hand out candy to the children on the same streets I trick or treated on 60 years ago. I serve as a bailiff in all the courts in Menard County including our five county District Court. I frequently serve as security at events like football, basketball and other meetings as the community requests. I have a positive relationship with our Sheriff’s Office and assist when needed. In my small town, escorting a funeral or parade is an honor and I am blessed to be involved.