By: Leslie Barrows
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Texas DWI: No Refusal weekends in Tarrant County
The Texas DWI “No Refusal” law allows law enforcement to take you to jail and draw blood if police pull you over under the suspicion of driving while intoxicated, and you refuse to cooperate with the officer’s investigation and request to submit to a breath test. In order for a law enforcement officer to arrest you for refusal and take you to jail to take your blood for evidence of intoxication, they traffic stop must be reasonable and the officer must have probable cause that the driver is intoxicated. The officer can apply for an expedited warrant from an on-duty night judge or magistrate to take a blood sample, at one of the central blood-draw locations, for evidence to arrest and charge the driver with DWI. “Search warrants for blood draws can be hand-delivered or transmitted electronically by fax or email.[i]”
About No-Refusal Weekends in Tarrant County and around the DFW Metroplex
There are several “no-refusal weekends,” during the holiday season, and each county designates dates around holidays when no-refusal will apply. In Tarrant County, anyone arrested and charged with DWI have been included in a publications on the district attorney’s website. The Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s office publishes no refusal press releases (See November 25, 2015 Thanksgiving Weekend No-Refusal) as well as they mention no-refusal weekends on the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office Facebook page. Christmas holiday no-refusal typically starts Christmas Eve and runs through New Year’s Day weekend.
The Texas Transportation Code sections controlling the law and procedure for blood draws, implied consent and a driver’s withdrawal of implied consent are complicated and every case can contain police errors of procedure and application of Texas law. The underlying cause for the traffic stop and the officer’s probable cause to seek a search warrant to take a blood or breath specimen may be challenged in criminal court. Even despite proper training, law enforcement officers can make mistakes. Drivers arrested and charged with DWI on no-refusal weekends have a right to challenge the arrest and charge.
About diversion programs for DWI offenders and options available to avoid jail time
DWI diversion programs such as Drug Impact Rehabilitation Enhanced Comprehensive Treatment (DIRECT) program, the Felony Alcohol Intervention Program (FAIP) or the Deferred Prosecution Program for youth offenders age 17 – 24 might be available to individuals who qualify under diversion program criteria. These programs offer offenders opportunities to avoid incarceration if they comply with the strict program requirements.
With increased enforcement of Texas DWI laws and the use of no-refusal weekends by law enforcement and the county district attorney’s offices, many more people take note and make plans to attend social gatherings and events with an appointed designated sober driver. The rise in popularity of affordable ride services such as Uber and Lyft also make it easy to get around without drinking and driving.
The Barrows Firm wishes everyone to be safe on the roads. Attorneys are available to answer any questions about DWI, no-refusal weekends, and the laws contained in the Texas Transportation Code.
If you would like more information about The Barrows Firm, P.C., please contact the firm by calling (817) 481-1583. The Barrows Firm is located downtown Fort Worth at 500 East Belknap Street, near the Tarrant County Courthouse and the Tarrant County Family Law Center.
[i] Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Tarrant County’s DWI no-refusal plans intact after court ruling, by Mitch Mitchell, Nov. 26, 2014.