Targeting Intoxicated Drivers and Boaters
by: Pat Hernandez, May 27, 2010 9:05:00 pm
It's called "No Refusal," the anti-DWI program to protect the public against intoxicated drivers and boaters over the extended Memorial Day holiday weekend. It is a valuable tool for area law enforcement to keep intoxicated motorists off the road.
"They are always going to be given an opportunity to submit the breath sample. If they don't, then we will seek the blood search warrant on a no refusal weekend."
Catherine Evans heads the Vehicular Crimes Section of the Harris County District Attorney's Office. She says if motorists are stopped and refuse to take a breath test, they will be forced by law to submit to a blood test:
"That's correct. At the point where somebody has been arrested for a DWI related offense, they've been given an opportunity to submit a voluntary breath specimen. If someone refuses to do that, we can seek a search warrant, have it reviewed by the judge. If it meets muster and is signed by the judge, than at that point, we have an order to obtain a blood sample from someone."
She adds that registered nurses work in sanitary conditions to draw blood.
"These samples are taken in a designated sanitary spot with certainly new equipment and new needles for everybody, under sanitary conditions, and the blood is drawn by registered nurses."
When the DA's office conducted the 72-hour No Refusal program last year, it resulted in almost 250 DWI related charges. 51 of those had prior DWIs. Evans says this is the only warning you'll get:
"Take a taxi, take public transport, whatever it is. Just makes those plans ahead of time, because once you started drinking, very often its too late, or people don't then make that choice to do the right thing."
No Refusal begins tomorrow night at 10pm and continues through Monday.