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SAPD makes more DWI arrests during Fiesta 2023 compared to 2022

How do officers determine whether a drunk driver was at Fiesta? Here's what SAPD told us.

SAN ANTONIO — No matter what the Fiesta event, it's just as common to find revelers with a drink in hand than a chicken-on-a-stick. With this year's festivities wrapped up, police are now providing a clearer picture of how many visitors had one too many drinks before deciding to get behind the wheel. 

Officials with the San Antonio Police Department say officers made 146 "Fiesta-related" DWI arrests during this year's 11-day party, up from 129 drunk-driving arrests made during Fiesta 2022. The most active day for police was April 28 – closing night for Night in Old San Antonio – when officers took 20 people into custody for alleged drunk driving. 

The second weekend of Fiesta generally saw more alleged drunk people deciding to drive, with 57 DWI arrests being made over that three-day stretch compared to 41 over opening weekend. 

The daily breakdown for the past two editions of Fiesta is as follows, according to SAPD: 

For comparison, SAPD made 117 DWI arrests in the 11-day stretch prior to this year's Fiesta. But the 11-day window starting March 31 and ending April 9 saw far more alleged drunk drivers hitting San Antonio roads, with police making 172 such arrests. 

SAPD told KENS 5 at the onset of this year’s Fiesta that it planned to have officers at all major events, including NIOSA, Oyster Bake and Taste of New Orleans – along with a dedicated DWI unit. Officials said 220 DWI arrests were made during Fiesta in 2018, followed up by 177 in the last pre-COVID Fiesta of 2019.

As for what constitutes a Fiesta-related DWI apprehension, SAPD officials told KENS 5 officers rely on "evidence that may indicate they were participating at Fiesta," including where drivers were stopped, and where they were traveling to or from--or if the driver admits they were celebrating and had one drink too many. 


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