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No Refusal Weekend—What Does It Mean?

Ah, summertime—scorching hot Texas days, time spent by the pool with a drink in your hand.  Holiday parties for Cinco de Mayo, Memorial Day, Fourth of July.  Summer in Texas can be great fun, but those good times can be brought to a screeching halt by an arrest for Driving While Intoxicated.  In Tarrant County and many other counties throughout the State, law enforcement agencies enact “No Refusal Weekends” on these popular holidays.  It is important you understand what a No Refusal Weekend is and what your rights are if you are under suspicion for Driving While Intoxicated. 

A No Refusal Weekend refers to a specific time period in which local law enforcement agencies have procedures in place to quickly obtain a search warrant for someone’s blood.  But can you still refuse to submit to a breath or blood test if one is requested?  YES! 

On any given day, police officers investigate people for the offense of Driving While Intoxicated.  These investigations usually begin with a stop for some type of traffic offense like speeding or failure to use a turn signal.  If an Officer has a belief that you are committing the offense of Driving While Intoxicated, he may ask you to take field sobriety tests and/or submit to the taking of a breath or blood sample.  You may refuse to perform both the field sobriety tests and the breath or blood test—you are under no legal obligation to do these.  At this point, if the Officer wants to proceed with a blood test, he must obtain a search warrant to do so.  This is the law in Texas, and is true during all Driving While Intoxicated investigations. 

No Refusal Weekends are different because law enforcement agencies are prepared to request warrants on every single case where a person refuses a breath or blood test.  This usually means magistrate Judges, extra Officers and personnel are on duty during No Refusal Weekends, ready to expedite the search warrant process to allow Officers to get it done more quickly, and on every case. 

What does this mean for you, and what should you do if you’re stopped by an Officer for suspicion of Driving While Intoxicated?  You always have the right to refuse both the field sobriety tests and the breath and/or blood test.  Politely refuse everything, including answering questions of “how much have you had to drink”, and “where are you coming from”.  Make the Officers follow all of the necessary legal channels to obtain this potential evidence against you.  In other words, don’t make it so easy for the State to prove their case! 

Will the Officers still get a search warrant for your blood, even if you refuse?  On any given day – possibly.  On No Refusal Weekends – yes.   It is important to note that there are consequences to refusing a breath or blood test.  Your Texas Driver’s License will be suspended for a period of 180 days if you refuse a test, or for 90 days if you consent to a breath or blood test and the result is over the legal limit of .08.  But don’t panic - your attorney will be able to help you obtain an Occupational Driver’s License.   That is just one reason why it is so important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after an arrest for Driving While Intoxicated. 

To sum it up—if you are under investigation for the offense of Driving While Intoxicated, politely refuse to answer questions about your drinking, refuse to take the field sobriety tests, and refuse any breath or blood test.  It is important to make the Officers jump through all of the legal hoops necessary and go through the process of obtaining the warrant to get any blood evidence.  You have the legal right to refuse—use it! 

If you are arrested for the offense of Driving While Intoxicated, contact the attorneys at the law firm of Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes as soon as possible.  We have a wealth of experience in handling DWI cases, and have represented clients all throughout Tarrant, Parker, Johnson, Denton, Dallas Counties and surrounding areas.  Call us at (817) 502-3600 for a free consultation, and let us help you today.

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