A recent report indicates that the Austin Police Department is just beginning a new year-long no refusal program to increase DWI crime enforcement. The program aims to turn back the sharp increase in DWI crimes and accidents spurred by the pandemic's isolation. The program may be effective in reducing drunk driving in and around Austin. The question remains, though, whether Austin police and the local court, jail, and crime labs can manage the extra work the enforcement initiative will very likely entail. Stay tuned to Austin for the results of this latest DWI trend. In the meantime, consider what a no refusal program really is.
The Probable Cause Requirement
To understand what a no refusal program is, one must first know the role that the Constitution and its probable cause requirement play in DWI enforcement. Texas's Transportation Code once considered a driver's license to be the driver's implied consent to a blood test when stopped on suspicion of a DWI. Under that statute, police would simply stop drivers suspected of a DWI and obtain a blood test. But following the Supreme Court's decision in Missouri v McNeely, Texas courts have held Texas's implied consent law to be unconstitutional. To require a blood test, police must show probable cause that the driver has committed a DWI. And if the driver refuses, the police must go get a magistrate's warrant, issued only on that showing of probable cause. Police can still get the blood test. It just takes a lot more work obtaining the warrant.
No Refusal Programs
So, what is a no refusal program? A no refusal program is a fairly straightforward DWI crime enforcement initiative. Drivers may still refuse a blood test. But instead of just relying on field sobriety tests when the driver refuses a blood test or picking and choosing when to go get a warrant for a blood draw, officers following a no refusal program will jump through the necessary hoops to get a blood-draw warrant for all drivers refusing the blood test. You can still refuse. But you're still getting a blood test. No refusal programs are thus a way of ending the usual game of cat and mouse. The driver can no longer hide behind the refusal, hoping the officer won't bother to get a warrant. Austin is hoping its year-long no refusal program induces drivers to stop the endless game of blood-draw cat and mouse.
Retain Skilled Texas DWI Defense
A Texas DWI is a serious criminal charge, whether or not you refuse a blood test. Texas DWI laws are also complex. You can lose your driver's license simply by not taking swift action to request an administrative hearing. Premier Texas DWI Specialist attorney Doug Murphy is available for your expert DWI representation. Attorney Murphy's fellow lawyers voted him Best Lawyers in America 2021 Lawyer of the Year. Attorney Murphy is one of only two Texas lawyers holding both Criminal Law Certification and DWI Board Certification. Contact Doug Murphy Law Firm online or at (713) 229-8333 to discuss your DWI case today. When you need the best, retain the best.