DWI ‘No Refusal’ Checkpoints Throughout South Texas

Law enforcement agencies across South Texas are taking part in strategic DWI enforcement campaigns to raise awareness about the consequences of drunk driving, and to ensure that prosecutors have the proper evidence to ensure DWI convictions. While a number of people are arrested for suspicion of driving while intoxicated, some may refuse to provide a chemical sample through a blood or breath test, which is commonly the primary piece of evidence in drunk driving cases. Without it, prosecutors may be forced to offer plea bargains or dismiss cases altogether.

To combat this problem, police and prosecutors are banning together to support “no refusal” strategies to stop drivers from refusing a field sobriety test. Essentially, “no refusal” refers to the practice of getting search warrants for blood samples in one central location, usually near the scene of a DWI stop, so that an arrestee cannot invoke his or her right to refuse a chemical test in the hopes of thwarting a DWI charge.

The refusal of a field sobriety test has its own consequences because of Texas’ implied consent law. Under the implied consent provision, drivers face license suspension for refusing a blood or breath test when requested by law enforcement.

The “no refusal” policy is intended to make judges available at sobriety checkpoints (or at police stations) to issue search warrants so that on-site nurses can immediately take blood samples and measure a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). This way, suspected drivers would not be able to prevent police from obtaining DWI evidence.

Prosecutors applaud this policy as it provides a uniform and efficient procedure to ensure proper evidence in DWI cases. This way, law enforcement can effect strict compliance with the law. However, there may still be warrants that are improperly granted, because they will be based solely on the arresting officer’s observations. If you have been charged with driving while intoxicated based on a “no refusal” search warrant, an experienced Houston DWI defense attorney can advise you of your rights as well as any available defenses.