As American families and communities across the United States prepare to celebrate the upcoming 4th of July holiday, law enforcement agencies in the Lone Star State are gearing up for another busy “no-refusal weekend.” In the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area, Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic will attract thousands of people from across Texas, and local police departments will be on the lookout for drunk drivers.
No-refusal weekends date back to Memorial Day 2007, when police departments in Texas deployed their officers en masse and set up checkpoints and roadblocks to check for instances of driving while intoxicated (DWI). Although these sobriety checkpoints have survived various legal challenges, including being deemed constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, no-refusal weekends tend to push the limits of civil freedoms with their strict enforcement of the “implied consent” statutory provision.
What Implied Consent Means
In Texas, drivers who are suspected of DWI are required to submit a sample to determine their blood alcohol level (BAC). The traditional method of BAC testing is performed with a breathalyzer machine; should drivers refuse to submit a breath sample for any reason, the implied consent provision of Texas law can be invoked.
Implied consent is given at the moment an individual gets his or her driving permit in the Lone Star State. This means that they agree to provide either a breath or blood sample during DWI stops. When a driver refuses to blow into the breathalyzer mouthpiece, a warrant is prepared and executed so that a blood sample can be obtained instead.
No-refusal weekends require considerable logistics and coordination. Centralized processing stations for DWI suspects are setup with prosecutors and judges who draft and approve warrants to submit a blood sample. Medical personnel are present to obtain the specimen, and the process is videotaped.
BAC levels determined from blood levels tend to be more accurate than breathalyzer results and thus more likely to hold up in court. Refusing a breathalyzer test may have immediate negative consequences on driving privileges. Implied consent has become a thorny legal issue when law enforcement officers use force on individuals who do not cooperate with the blood draw process.
Defending Drinking and Driving Cases in Texas
When the DWI blood draw process is centralized during a no-refusal weekends, the chances of being convicted on the basis of evidence tend to increase. However, drivers must also remember that attorneys who specialize in DWI defense do not approach the case solely from an evidence point of view.
Even if a blood specimen has been collected and tested in a DWI case in Texas, defense attorneys can look at other factors surrounding the arrest for the purpose of obtaining the best outcome possible for their clients.
Getting DWI Legal Help
Implied consent laws can be difficult to understand at the time of the incident. Fighting implied consent laws without an attorney is even more complicated. See how Matthew D. Sharp can help you by calling 713-868-6100.
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