If you've heard about an upcoming DUI "No Refusal" Weekend but weren't exactly sure what that meant, don't feel too out of the loop. There have been quite a few questions about "No Refusal" Weekends on our FindLaw Answers DUI & DWI Forum.
As the Austin American-Statesman reports, law enforcement agencies in Texas are planning on making the upcoming Labor Day weekend a "No Refusal" Weekend. And with Texas being just one of a number of states making a push for "no refusal" drunken driving stops, it's a good time to learn more about this program, supported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
So what exactly is a DUI "No Refusal" Weekend?
Program Allows Blood Tests on Drivers Who Refuse Breath Tests
Typically, a DUI stop may include an officer administering a series of field sobriety tests followed by a breath test to measure a driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) if the officer suspects the driver is under the influence of alcohol.
However, some drivers may refuse to undergo the test, opting instead to take the penalty for refusing to submit to a BAC test, which in many states includes an automatic loss of driver's license. That's where the "No Refusal" Weekend program comes into play.
During a DUI "No Refusal" Weekend, law enforcement will require drivers who refuse breath tests to submit instead to a more intrusive blood test -- in essence, eliminating their ability to refuse to have their BAC measured. How does this work?
Judges, Magistrates On Call to Issue Warrants
According to NHTSA, the "No Refusal" Weekend program works by facilitating the availability of judges and magistrates to speedily sign warrants, allowing for the blood draws to occur.
In many jurisdictions, warrants can now be signed remotely and sent via smartphone or computer directly to officers in the field. Though a person may still refuse to have his or her blood drawn (although in some instances, blood can be taken involuntarily), to do so in violation of a warrant can lead to more serious criminal charges, including criminal contempt of court.
If you are facing legal consequences for refusing to submit to a blood alcohol level test over a DUI "No Refusal" Weekend, or any day for that matter, an experienced DUI lawyer can explain your legal options.