Memorial Day weekend is notoriously one of the most active weekends for drivers operating vehicles under the influence of alcohol or drugs. For this reason, police officers are often out in full force on the roads to ensure that drivers are not operating vehicles while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. With the upcoming holiday and summer months, one county in Texas is significantly increasing its efforts to prevent drivers from driving under the influence.
Montgomery County to Use No Refusal Operations for 100 Days
Of the largest counties in Texas, Montgomery County had the highest fatality rate of drunk driving crashes in the state.To make the roads safer for drivers, Montgomery County is increasing no refusal operations and driving while intoxicated enforcement. The goal of the program is to prevent traffic crashes and deaths caused by intoxicated drivers. The program will occur for approximately 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Under the no refusal operations, the process will occur as follows:
- an officer makes a DWI/BWI arrest and asks the suspect for a breath or blood sample;
- if the suspect refuses, the officer then meets with a prosecutor who will draft a search warrant for the suspect’s blood;
- the warrant is sent to an on-call judge who will review the warrant for probable cause; and
- if probable cause is found, a nurse will then take a sample of the DWI/BWI suspect’s blood.
In connection with the operations, there will be more law enforcement officials on the road to catch drivers. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 24 DWI-related fatalities in the Montgomery County last year.
Texas’ Implied Consent Law
Texas has what is known as an “implied consent law.” Under Texas’ implied consent law, if a person is arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the person is deemed to have consented “to submit to the taking of one or more specimens of the person’s breath or blood for analysis to determine the alcohol concentration or the presence in the person’s body of a controlled substance, drug, dangerous drug, or other substance.”
Before requesting a specimen, however, the officer must inform the person that refusal may be given, but that there are certain consequences. Notably, the officer must inform the person orally and in writing that:
- Refusal may be admissible in prosecution;
- Refusal will automatically result in the suspension of a person’s license for 180 days, regardless if the person is prosecuted as a result of the arrest;
- The officer may apply for a warrant to take a specimen; and
- The person has a right to a hearing on the suspension or denial within 15 days of receiving the notice of suspension denial.
If you have questions regarding the legalities of sobriety checkpoints in your state, you should reach out to an experienced DWI lawyer for help.