Goheen & O’Toole, P.L.L.C.
TEXAS HOLIDAYS MEAN NO REFUSAL WEEKENDS FOR DWI CASES
Can I Refuse to Take the Tests if I'm Stopped for DWI During a No Refusal Weekend?
As the holidays come around again, people begin to plan for Christmas and New Year's parties. They get together with loved ones and friends and family to celebrate. These celebrations sometimes involve alcohol and a drive after the party which can result in DWI charges. In Texas, over the last few years prosecutors and law enforcement have begun holding No Refusal Weekends during major holiday travel weekends and there are some common misconceptions when it comes time to DWI enforcement and No Refusal Weekends.
The term No Refusal Weekend has led many people to believe their rights are being circumvented and police officers are standing at the roadside, needles in hand, ready to perform blood draws on suspected DWI drivers. This simply is not true. No Refusal Weekends are an effort by law enforcement and prosecutors to streamline the warrant process. On these weekends there is typically a magistrate or judge on-call to review warrant affidavits for blood draws in DWI cases. Therefore instead of attempting to prosecute a DWI case without a chemical analysis and relying on subjective evidence, a prosecutor would have objective evidence in the form of a chemical analysis. While officers in Texas always have the right and ability to seek a warrant to compel you to give them a blood sample for chemical analysis, on No Refusal weekends the process is many times easier.
If you or a loved one are stopped for a DWI you always have the right to refuse any and all tests. Typically, officers who suspect you may be intoxicated will first ask you to perform the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. You may be familiar with these as the "eye test" or the "walk-the-line test." You may not know it, but you have the right to refuse these tests. Due to the variety of factors that could cause you to perform poorly on these tests it may be a good idea to refuse them, even though a prosecutor may be allowed to use the refusal as evidence against you. At some point during a DWI investigation an officer may ask you for a sample of your breath or blood. You always have the right to refuse to provide a sample; however, during No Refusal Weekends it will be easier for the officer to secure a warrant for your blood as there will generally be an on-call judge ready to review any warrant affidavit.
During the holidays you should have fun and enjoy the time with family and friends. If you drink do so in moderation. If you drive, please do so sober; but, if you are arrested for DWI remember to exercise your rights and also to call Goheen & O’Toole, P.L.L.C. the first chance you get to schedule your free consultation.