Texas and Arizona are two of nine states currently implementing “No-Refusal” initiatives for DUI stops.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sponsors special DUI efforts called “No-Refusal” DUI Weekend Initiatives that enforce blood alcohol content testing for those who are arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Currently, nine states including Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Texas and Utah conduct.
The “No-Refusal” program is an enforcement strategy that allows police to more easily obtain search warrants for blood samples from suspected impaired drivers who have refused to consent to breath tests, the NHTSA said.
During these “No-Refusal” weekends, officers are allowed to request warrants via phone from on-call judges or magistrates.
This enables law enforcement to legally acquire proper blood samples from drivers who refuse to give a breath sample. During these specified enforcement efforts, prosecutors and judges make themselves available to streamline the warrant acquisition process and help build solid cases that can lead to impaired driving convictions.
Under normal DUI checkpoint and arrests circumstances in general, the driver is taken to a hospital for blood to be drawn if a judge issues a warrant for the test. During “No Refusal” initiatives, a registered nurse is at a jail to draw blood onsite.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) criticizes “No-Refusal” policies because they violate the driver’s rights against unreasonable search and seizure. Some judges agree, and refuse to participate in these efforts because of legal uncertainties regarding the mass warrant issuing process.
Others say that “No-Refusal” weekends are like any other day for law enforcement.
“That officer has a legal avenue (of seeking a warrant from a judge) that they can take regardless of the ‘No Refusal’ weekend,” Johnny Poulos, director of public affairs for the Mississippi Highway Patrol, said in USA Today about a recently conducted “No-Refusal” initiative.
The chance of being caught driving drunk, arrested and convicted increase when “No-Refusal” checkpoints are taking place, so efforts are often highly publicized. The public is made aware of the consequences, and judges are notified of the initiatives as well because of the increased amount of calls they will receive from officers for warrants.