Does the crime rate rise with the summer temperatures? This certainly seems to be accurate, according to a 2014 Bureau of Justice Statistics study. Several types of crime, from driving while intoxicated, drug crimes, vandalism, and theft all seem to increase when it’s warmer outside. Other variables that also impact the increase in crime rates include summer break from schools, vacation, and an abundance of holidays and activities from May through September.
The rising crime during the summer may call for the increased presence of law enforcement, drivers on the road and therefore, an increased chance of being subject to a traffic stop.
The following are some of the types of crime that heat up during the summer:
1. Driving while intoxicated (DWI) and public intoxication
It’s no surprise that the summer season offers more opportunity to gather with family and friends. From sporting events to late night parties and holidays, these times often result in increased law enforcement presence on the road and in public spaces. When there’s an increased presence of police, there’s likely more DWI arrests made – especially since enforcement tends to be tougher during the summer months (no refusal weekends and holidays) and they tend to be more alert to signs of impairment and impaired driving.
On the topic of “no refusal” in Texas, there are certain dates in which officers enforce stricter standards and policies if you’re pulled over. The term “no refusal” comes from the “implied consent” provision in the Texas Transportation Code and is instituted for law enforcement to conduct traffic stops and detain drivers suspected of driving while intoxicated. The term “no refusal” may confuse many motorists, as it sounds like you do not have a choice to do what an officer says if you’re pulled over, but this is not the case.
During a “no refusal” time frame, like all other times, motorists can refuse to comply with requests to perform roadside gymnastics, what law enforcement refers to as roadside sobriety tests or stand field sobriety test, as well as to provide a blood sample or breathalyzer test. This does not mean that you will not be arrested or face additional charges (such as driver’s license suspension). Also, during this time, law enforcement can contact an on-call judge or magistrate to obtain a warrant, which will ultimately require you to provide the sample.
If you are arrested for driving while intoxicated, the facts and circumstances surrounding your arrest are just as important as the time you have to prepare your defense. Contact an experienced attorney immediately after you’ve been arrested.
Theft seems to be a frequently occurring crime during the summertime as burglary rates are found to be about 11 percent higher during the summer. Some factors could be related to homes left unoccupied when families leave for vacation and individuals leaving car windows cracked to relieve their vehicles from the staggering heat. With the increased activity during the summer, there’s also an increased chance of committing theft without intentionally doing so. Anything from receiving stolen property to using someone else’s vehicle without their permission can fall under the category of theft and carries punishment that can lead to life-altering consequences.
While the amount “stolen” determines the severity of the theft charge, there are certain exceptions that focus on the conduct of the charge. For example, if you have prior convictions, stealing a pack of gum can lead to a felony charge. Consequences of theft charges include being deemed “untrustworthy” and therefore, you may be prohibited from obtaining certain licenses, unable to work in some employment positions and more, or if you are here on a Visa, even expulsion from the U.S. It’s important to seek an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible because the facts and circumstances will ultimately determine whether it’s possible to have your case dismissed if property is returned or paid.
Many residential areas often see an increase in crime during the summer – much of which parents and neighbors fault adolescents for since some crime, such as vandalism, coincides with the release of school during the summer.
Even childish offenses like egging a car, dressing a home with toilet paper, or spray painting property – regardless of whether it’s public property or private property – is against the law. Under Texas law, many forms of vandalism are charged as criminal mischief and carry various punishment scaled to meet the severity of the crime. In these cases, the value of damages is weighed when considering punishment.
For example, egging a car doesn’t seem like it would cause much damage other than having to clean it off, right? Wrong. Vandalism committed that results in $100 or less in damages typically results in a Class C misdemeanor charge and a $500 fine. When the value of damage is much greater ($750 to $2,500), you could face up to a year in jail and fine as high as $4,000.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your situation, there may be several defenses against vandalism and criminal mischief charges.
The summer season brings plenty of opportunities to find fun in gatherings and events, but it also brings opportunity to find trouble with the law. The facts surrounding your case are extremely important, which is why you should seek an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately after an arrest.