Local law enforcement agencies are strengthening efforts to increase DWI arrests over the upcoming Labor Day weekend. Over the last several years there has been a popular trend among district attorney's offices in Harris County, Montgomery County, Ft. Bend County and others to have “no refusal” weekends during holidays, and this upcoming Labor Day weekend will be no exception.
WHAT DOES “NO REFUSAL” MEAN?
Simply put, during a “no refusal” situation, if a person refuses to provide a breath sample during a DWI investigation, the officer will obtain a search warrant and will forcibly take a sample of the person's blood. For political reasons, local district attorneys often boast that this procedure is “cutting edge." It is not. Search warrants have always been available to acquire a blood sample from a person suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
In the past, officers would typically not go to the trouble of getting a search warrant for blood on a DWI arrest when no one was seriously injured because it was time consuming to do so. Because of this, there were some lawyers who would use clever ad slogans urging people to refuse breath tests if they were being investigated for DWI. When these cases would go to trial, prosecutors were limited in the evidence that they could present to a jury. Several years ago prosecutors wanted to increase their odds of obtaining a DWI conviction, so they started working with local law enforcement officers to create “no refusal” programs. Under these programs officers are instructed to get a search warrant for a person's blood if that person refuses to provide a breath sample. Some counties have “no refusal” weekends, while others have a no refusal program in place year-round.
Contrary to popular belief, there are many issues with the way underfunded and understaffed crime labs conduct their blood testing. The machinery that is used to test the blood often lacks the proper maintenance and calibration. There have also been documented situations where crime labs have falsified records .
If you or a loved one has been arrested for DWI call us. Ed McClees is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and has vast experience handling DWIs and other intoxication related cases.