The Houston Police Department implemented a “No Refusal” weekend for the Labor Day holiday in an effort to increase road safety and reduce drunk driving. This policy essentially seeks to make it mandatory for people to cooperate with DWI investigations.
In a nutshell, this is a collaborative effort between Texas Judges, District Attorneys, and Houston Police to convict you of a DWI regardless of whether you deserve it or not. Normally, your local police and sheriff departments will declare a no refusal weekend in advance, but you should expect all of the following to be designated as a no refusal weekend:
- Memorial Day holiday
- Independence Day, Fourth of July
- Labor Day holiday – (Late August or early Sept)
- Halloween, October 31st
- All the way from Thanksgiving to Christmas and New Year’s Eve
During this “No Refusal” weekend, the Texas highway patrol will be out in strength, with more officers available to pull people over and request a blood alcohol test, as well as more nursing staff on hand to draw blood right away.
Technically, you can refuse a DWI blood test request from a police officer legally, even if the consequences are severe. There are, however, some exceptions to the rule that fall under the state’s “No Refusal” system. Texas DWI blood draw requests during these times are intended to try to stop people from driving drunk during the holiday periods.
On “No Refusal” days, supplemental judges are on duty, ready to rapidly review and approve search warrant requests. This is the legal document that authorizes the police to obtain evidence, in this case, evidence in your blood or breath. When the judge signs the warrant, the officer can either accompany you to the office for a blood draw and breathalyzer test, or the procedures can be performed on the roadside.
What Is the Meaning of “No Refusal”?
Let’s take a step back for a moment before we get started. When you obtain a state driver’s license in Texas, you are technically consented to any drug or alcohol tests sought by law enforcement. When someone is being investigated for a DWI or other crime, these tests are usually performed using breath tests.
Refusing to blow can sometimes be the best way to avoid a DWI conviction because it means the police have less solid evidence against you. However, if you refuse to cooperate with these tests, you should be aware that your driver’s license will most likely be suspended. However, in most cases, a qualified DWI lawyer can assist you in obtaining an occupational license, so a suspended license isn’t as scary as it may appear at first.
Texas Implied Consent
At the point the officer is reading you his implied consent card you are being placed into protective custody. Once he places the handcuffs on you, ask the police officer if you are under arrest. He will explain that you are not under arrest at this time. Then ask the police officer if you are free to leave. He will tell you that you are not free to leave. Most states implied consent laws tread on the U.S. Constitution. The problem the State has is that if they give you your constitutional rights then you are under arrest and you have the right to speak to an attorney. If you called a competent DWI attorney at this point, it would be near impossible, in most cases, for the state to get you to a facility in order to do a blood test. But at least asking these questions will give a jury a justification as to why the defendant refused to have their BAC tested.
Driving in Texas is a privilege, not a right. As a result, the implied consent law is in effect on Texas roads, assuming your permission to a reasonable request for a BAC test by an officer. While there are legal ramifications, you always have the option to refuse a Texas DWI test. If you refuse, the officer’s only legal option is to obtain a search warrant so that you can be subjected to a DWI test.
Is It Your Right To Refuse?
It is extremely concerning that law enforcement uses the phrase “No Refusal,” implying you are unable to refuse any test. This is an incorrect term, and DWI suspects in Houston have the right to refuse any sobriety or chemical test administered to them. Many law enforcement agencies take advantage of this ambiguity in the law to bully people into submitting to unnecessary tests that they have the right to refuse.
Countless individuals who would normally refuse a breath test (which is usually the best decision) are now unsure of their rights during a “No-Refusal” weekend due to the misinformation campaign. Many people quickly agree to the request because they believe the officer will eventually get what they want, so what’s the point of refusing?
In this situation, some attorneys believe that refusing remains the best option. While it is true that you can be forced to give blood, ( if you refuse to consent to a breath test,) this strategy could still work in your favor. One opinion is that it’s easier to persuade a jury that the Intoxilyzer is incorrect than it is to persuade a jury that a blood test is incorrect. However, it can still take hours for a judge to issue a warrant and for the blood draw to take place. This extra time may result in a lower blood alcohol level, potentially even lower than the legal limit.