No Refusal Weekend usually goes into effect around major holidays, and was primarily established as a deterrent to drinking and driving since Texas is now the deadliest state in regards to DWI fatalities. In Bexar County, No Refusal Policy is continuously in effect, whether we are in the middle of a No Refusal Weekend or not. So what makes a “No Refusal Weekend” unique from any other day or weekend? It is a time period when local agencies have more resources available to acquire more warrants and blood samples. Officers are placed on high alert, actively looking to enforce DUI/DWI laws. Blood-draw nurses are also readily available, and a magistrate judge is on call and available to issue search warrants.
What Can I Expect & What Are My Rights?
During a No Refusal Weekend, you can still refuse to submit to a field sobriety test. When a driver gets pulled over for a suspected DUI/DWI, the officer is going to ask the driver to submit to field sobriety tests. The driver has 2 options: he/she can consent to the tests, or he/she can refuse (yes, even during a no refusal weekend). Educated drivers know they have the right to refuse field sobriety tests. Refusing a field sobriety test and/or consuming an alcoholic beverage does not mean you are breaking the law. If the driver refuses to submit to a breath test, the officer will then ask for a sample of your blood. You can and should say no this too. The officer will then proceed to take you downtown, request a search warrant (for your blood), and obtain a blood sample. Once the officer obtains the warrant for your blood-draw, you should then comply (this is the “no refusal” part of the No Refusal Policy).
Is It Worth the Trouble?
Why go through all the trouble? If the situation is going to end in a blood-draw, is that any different from submitting to field sobriety tests? Yes. It is very different. If the officer requests a search warrant, he/she must establish probable cause in the request. If the driver refused field sobriety tests, probable cause is more challenging for an officer to establish. Additionally, if the magistrate judge inappropriately assigned probable cause when signing the warrant, the blood evidence might be later “thrown out”. Your defense attorney has the right to review the warrant that was issued for your blood-draw, and an experienced and knowledgable defense attorney knows what to look for.
The Bottom Line
Do not submit to field sobriety tests. You are only helping the officer build a case against you, whether it was alcohol affecting your performance on these tests or not. It may be an inconvenience for you that day to go downtown for a blood draw, but that one day can make the difference for the rest of your life.
If you are pulled over for a suspected DUI/DWI:
And Take the Time
To Go Downtown
Think twice before you get behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming alcohol and know your rights. Drive safely Texas.