TEXAS DRUNK DRIVING NO-REFUSAL WEEKENDS
Unfortunately, Texas has some of the worst statistics when it comes to DWI fatalities. There are laws in place to prevent intoxicated driving and to punish those involved. But these laws are only somewhat successful in limiting the number of deaths on Texas roads. Due to the popularity of many crime dramas on television, jurors’ perception of what’s required for sentencing is often skewed. This inappropriate application of the burden of proof, combined all too often with a suspect’s refusal to submit to a scientific or chemical sample, has presented a significant problem for law enforcement.
To combat these issues, police departments across the state have begun instituting “no-refusal weekends” — a program that allows law enforcement to collect a blood sample from people pulled over for suspected DWI regardless of whether the individual refuses testing. In Texas, all drivers are considered to have given implied consent to provide a breath or blood sample if an officer is lawfully requesting it during a DWI stop. Despite that fact, roughly half of all suspects still refuse.
During a no-refusal weekend, if you are suspected of DWI and you refuse to provide a breath sample, you will be forcibly made to provide a blood sample by means of a streamlined process set up to ensure accuracy and admissibility of the evidence in court. Without the program, an arresting officer must take a DWI suspect to a separate locale and await approval of a warrant to obtain a blood sample. During a no-refusal weekend, this process is condensed. At a central location, a suspect is processed for arrest, has a warrant drawn up by prosecutors and reviewed and approved by a judge, and goes through the blood collection process with a nurse — all while being videotaped to ensure that evidence is preserved and accurately depicted for a later court date.
Due to the higher number of impaired drivers on the road during holiday weekends, the first no-refusal weekend took place during Memorial Day weekend in 2007. Many impaired drivers went through the program — including 12 who went through the entire “blood warrant” process. Of those 12, 11 were above the statutory blood-alcohol limit in Texas. The evidence collected exonerated the other remaining person.