|NO REFUSAL SCHEDULE FOR 2013
(unless noted, all hosting is held at Central INTOX 51 Riesner)
Updated 1/5/13 ***Schedule subject to change******
What is No Refusal?
Harris County leads the nation in drunk driving fatalities. One way that Harris County is responding to this devastating phenomenon is through No Refusal enforcement weekends. The No Refusal program is an enforcement strategy that allows jurisdictions to obtain search warrants for blood samples from suspected impaired drivers who refuse breath or blood tests. During these specified enforcement efforts, prosecutors and judges work throughout the night to streamline the warrant acquisition process in order to obtain blood draw warrants. Blood evidence obtained from a suspect helps prosecutors successfully prosecute DWI cases more effectively. Additionally, the No Refusal program is also highly publicized to let the public know that the chance of being caught, arrested, and convicted increases dramatically during these efforts. The publicity helps deter drunk driving because it publicizes high visibility law enforcement periods which are known to reduce drunk driving.
What Happens If You Are Pulled Over?
During a No Refusal initiative, if you are stopped for suspicion of drunk driving and refuse to give a breath or blood sample, the arresting officer may attempt to obtain a warrant for a sample of your blood. Once the suspect refuses the breath or blood test, they cannot change their mind, a search warrant will be issued. During No Refusal initiatives, staff from the District Attorney’s (DA) Office are stationed at a centralized location (or at multiple locations during holiday periods). When a suspected drunk driver is brought in by an officer and he/she refuses to provide a sample of their breath or blood, the officer consults with the DA, provides the probable cause information used for the arrest and will provide any relevant information to the DA in order for a warrant to be drawn up. Once the warrant is completed, the DA will take or fax the warrant to a judge that will review the warrant for probable cause and sign off on the warrant. The DA will bring the warrant back to the officer who will enforce the warrant. The suspect puts a fingerprint on the warrant to verify it is specifically for the person identified in the warrant and the suspect is then taken to a blood draw room where the nurse/phlebotomist is located. A video is taken while another officer will read the charges to make sure the suspect understands the charges and the nurse or phlebotomist will draw the suspect’s blood. If the suspect is uncooperative or combatant, officers will restrain the suspect while the blood draw is occurring.
There are several circumstances where a blood draw may be “mandatory” and a warrant is not needed. Under the provisions of Texas Transportation Code (TRC), Ch. 724, Subchapter B, the officer may obtain a blood specimen without a warrant if:
1) there was an accident and the officer reasonably believes that as a result of the accident:
2) The offense was a DWI with a child passenger. A child under 15 years of age was a passenger in the vehicle operated by the suspect while intoxicated; or,
3) The officer has reliable information that the operator of the vehicle has a previous conviction for DWI, child passenger, intoxication assault, or intoxication manslaughter; or,
4) The officer has reliable information that the operator of the vehicle has two or more previous convictions for intoxication offenses.
How Successful Are No Refusals?
High visibility law enforcement initiatives such as “No Refusal,” are having a strong impact on lowering the death rate from alcohol related crashes. The greatest deterrent we have against drinking and driving is the fear of being caught and going to jail. No Refusals allow prosecutors to get the best evidence for prosecuting and convicting drunk drivers. The blood provides scientific evidence that can be tested over again and again if needed. Additionally if the suspect has other substances in their blood (ie: drugs, inhalants or other intoxicating substances) the lab work on the blood will show these in addition to alcohol. Recently we saw a drop in deaths caused by drunk drivers in Harris County. The continuation of the No Refusal initiative is imperative in order to maintain this downward trend. We applaud the law enforcement community, the judiciary of Harris County and the ADAs from the District Attorney’s office for the continued dedication to the “No Refusal” program. The message in Harris and surrounding counties still remains: Drink, Drive, Go To Jail, which is seen frequently on the dynamic message signs throughout the area on No Refusal weekends.