Officials in Tarrant County, Texas, announced plans to publish the names of anyone charged with drunk driving over the New Year's weekend on the county's websites. The county published a similar list in July of anyone convicted of DWI during the year, but the upcoming list will not include pictures.
The county's assistant district attorney explained that the list was intended to remind people of the threat of drunk driving during their New Year's festivities, and is designed to appeal drivers who don't want to be embarrassed.
Dallas County's district attorney says the county does not currently have plans to implement a similar system, describing himself as "indifferent" to the idea. However, he added that the rationale behind the initiative is sound, as it would serve to encourage New Year's Eve partygoers not to drive. He explained that it's one of many tools that can be used to discourage drunk driving over busy holiday weekends.
Police departments in both Tarrant and Dallas counties are planning to continue the trend of holiday no-refusal weekends, during which officers are allowed to obtain blood test warrants for drivers that refuse to take breath and field sobriety tests. Police across Texas now credit no-refusal weekends for raising awareness of the penalties associated with drunk driving.
Tarrant County's ADA explained that only one death has occurred during no-refusal weekends, and said that the number of warrants issued has decreased each year while the number of drivers willingly consenting to tests has increased.
It's important that anyone accused of drunk driving fight to keep their legal rights protected. Law enforcement seems to not care about the effects that being publicly shamed for being accused of drunk driving could have on people. Even being accused could cause someone to lose his or her job.
Source: Dallas Observer, "Tarrant County to Publicly Shame Drunk Drivers. Dallas Isn't Ready to Go That Far," Leslie Minora, Dec. 30, 2011