Don’t Let Your ACL Fest Good Times Land You in Handcuffs Due to an Austin Arrest

Posted by Jason EnglishAug 17, 20220 Comments

AUSTIN, Texas – The Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL Fest), now in its 21st year, is one of the many events that make Austin proud. Thousands of people will travel to Zilker Park in Austin on the weekends of October 7-9 and October 14-16, 2022, to enjoy the nine stages and more than 100 events.

The ACL Fest has released its daily lineup for this year's event for both weekends, and what a fabulous lineup it is. Headliners on Friday, October 7 are The Chicks, Sza, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, and Billy Strings. Saturday, October 8, will feature P!NK, Flume, Lil Nas X, Diplo, and Wallows. Sunday, October 9, will see headliners Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kacey Musgraves, Paramore, Zhu, and Lil Durk, who will only perform during the first weekend.

The second weekend will have similar lineups for headliners, with Phoenix performing Friday, October 14, and Death Cab for Cutie performing Saturday, October 15.

Along with the fantastic music, festival-goers can sample some of Austin's and the surrounding area's best restaurants' delectable food, drinks, and sweets. There will be mini-fests for the kids, sponsored giveaways, and other surprises between sets.

It is no understatement to say that the ACL Fest continues to be an overwhelming success. According to a report from the economic analysis firm AngelouEconomics, 75,000 daily attendees at ACL Fest gathered to hear over 120 performers last October, contributing $369.16 million to Austin's economy.

With this many people enjoying all the music and good times, no one wants to think about how quickly things can go south. But unfortunately, when you have large crowds like this, it's easy to have one drink too many with your family and friends and find yourself facing criminal charges.

During the first weekend of last year's ACL Fest, the Austin Police Department (APD) conducted a No Refusal Initiative from Thursday, September 30, through Sunday, October 4, 2021. Anyone suspected of driving while intoxicated (DWI) is subject to a blood search warrant when No Refusal is in effect.

There were 33 DWI-related arrests made during the operational time period:

  • Blood Search Warrants: 15
  • Consent Breath Samples: 9
  • Consent Blood Samples: 9

Of those arrests, the following had enhanced DWI charges:

  • Consent breath samples over 0.15: 5
  • Class A misdemeanor DWI with prior conviction: 2
  • Felony DWI (2 or more prior convictions): 5
  • Felony DWI child passenger: 1

APD said that “of the 33 Arrests made during the No Refusal Period, over 80 percent of them started as 911 calls for service, which included 15 collisions.” DWI is involved in more than one-third of Austin's fatal crashes, according to APD.

This may not seem like a significant number, but if you find yourself under arrest after the upcoming ACL Fest, take this critical first step and call a criminal defense attorney immediately.

“Whenever you have large gatherings of people, things can quickly get out of hand. Add in lots of good food and drink, and a person can find themselves facing criminal charges. In addition to taking advantage of ride shares if available, I encourage folks to “buddy up” and have a designated driver if they plan to drink.

Every day I get calls from good people who had one too many drinks that landed them in jail with a DWI charge. No one goes to these fun events thinking they will wake up facing prison bars. But if it does happen to you, it's critical to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer right away who knows the system and can help you get your life back to normal as soon as possible,” says Austin criminal defense attorney Jason English.

“Many factors influence how a judge will rule in your case, depending upon whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony. Criminal charges have consequences that go beyond court appearances and fines. A criminal record will follow you for the rest of your life, including whether you apply for jobs, housing, or even fight for custody of your children.

People don't equate throwing a punch or having one too many drinks with a ruined life, but without proper legal counsel, you can find just this happening to you. Remember that during the first weekend of last year's ACL Fest, out of the 33 people arrested, 13 faced enhanced DWI charges. Here's some information you need to know about the consequences of misdemeanor and felony charges,” adds English.

Misdemeanors, though less serious than felonies, are classified into three types: Class A, Class B, and Class C. The punishments for each are proportional to the gravity of the crime.

  • Class A includes up to a $4,000 fine and one year in county jail.
  • Class B includes up to a $2,000 fine and 180 days in jail.
  • Class C includes up to a $500 fine and no jail time.

In Texas, felonies carry harsher fines and have a more significant impact on your rights. The following are some of the crimes, along with felony charges and penalties you may face in Texas.

  • First Degree Felony: includes aggravated assault, aggravated robbery, and murder — resulting in up to a $10,000 fine and five to 99 years in prison.
  • Second Degree Felony: includes aggravated assault, manslaughter, and intoxication manslaughter — resulting in up to a $10,000 fine and two to 20 years in prison.
  • Third Degree Felony: includes DWI third offense, intoxication assault, and possession of a firearm as a felon — resulting in up to a $10,000 fine and two to 10 years in prison.
  • State Jail Felonies: includes DWI with a child passenger and possession of less than one gram of a controlled substance — resulting in up to a $10,000 fine and 180 days to two years in a state jail.
  • Capital Felonies: include murder — resulting in life imprisonment or death.

If you get arrested in Austin during or after ACL Fest and go to jail charged with a DWI, assault, or other criminal charge, you need a criminal defense attorney you can trust. As a former prosecutor for 15 years, attorney Jason S. English knows how the other side works and how to help criminal defendants build strong defenses. Mr. English picks the best legal strategy for each client based on his experience in court and his deep knowledge of state and federal laws.

About Jason S. English Law, PLLC

Though the founder of Jason S. English Law, PLLC, now works as a criminal defense attorney, he is also a former prosecutor with over 15 years of experience prosecuting the same crimes for which his clients are now facing charges. Before founding Jason S. English Law, PLLC, English worked as an Assistant District Attorney in Cameron, Hays, and Travis Counties, representing the state of Texas from 2002 to 2017. English handled drug cases, assault cases, and DWIs in addition to violent crimes. English was assigned to the Public Integrity Unit for many years, where he prosecuted White Collar Fraud, Corruption, and Public Officials. English served as the only Assistant District Attorney on-site advising the Austin Police Department for more than seven years.

English also served as the Felony Prosecutor for the Mental Health and Veterans Court dockets, where he was in charge of all cases. English comprehends the impact of mental illness on crime and punishment and assists clients in obtaining the best possible resolution of their cases by drawing on his extensive experience and well-established reputation in the legal community.

Our practice includes a variety of areas, including assisting good people facing criminal and drunk driving charges, as well as representing victims of serious accidents who deserve to be fairly compensated for their injuries. We also understand the importance of planning for your family's future after you pass away, so we devote a portion of our practice to creating and probating wills. We also handle divorce, real estate, and other matters. We spend a lot of time in Bastrop, Hays, and Williamson Counties, even though our office is in Austin, Travis County, Texas. Just don't be surprised if we return to Tarrant County or other beautiful parts of Texas.

Please call us at (512) 454-7548 if you have any questions. We can probably point you in the right direction and make a referral for you to consider if you require assistance outside of our practice.

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