Memorial Day Weekend Means "No Refusal" Weekend

Nearly two million American soldiers have been killed in the line of duty, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Every Memorial Day, we take time to honor and recognize those who have served our country and to appreciate the privileges that we enjoy because of the sacrifices these brave men and women have made.

During this holiday weekend, many Texans and visitors alike enjoy three days of fun and relaxation, right when the weather starts to become warmer. However, there is an increased risk of being arrested for a DWI.

What are “No Refusal” Weekends?

Memorial Day Weekend is considered a “No Refusal” weekend due to their deterrent effect on drunk driving. Statistics indicate that a higher amount of drunk driving arrests and fatalities occur during holidays, such as St. Patrick’s Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day weekends.

During a “No Refusal” weekend, police officers can obtain warrants to immediately collect blood evidence from drivers suspected of DWI. Although licensed drivers do not have the right to say no to an officer’s request to perform a chemical test, the term means that refusing to submit to a chemical test won’t prevent the officer from obtaining a warrant to sample drivers’ blood.

The following are the options licensed drivers have when asked to perform a chemical test:

  • If the driver consents to testing, law enforcement takes the test sample.
  • If the driver refuses, law enforcement will request a search warrant to collect a blood sample.

Under Texas’ implied consent law, every driver stopped for driving while intoxicated should provide a blood or breath sample to a police officer. If a driver refuses the officer’s request, his/her driver’s license will be suspended for 180 days or more.

Can’t Law Enforcement Obtain a Search Warrant at Any Time?

It is true that police officers can get a search warrant any day of the year. Yet, on a “No Refusal” weekend, more resources are provided by local agencies to obtain more warrants and, ultimately, more blood samples.

For example, magistrates are readily available to review and sign required affidavits for officers’ search warrants. Additionally, more nurses are available to perform blood draws.

Do Officers Need Probable Cause to Collect a Blood Sample?

That is correct! Just because it is “No Refusal” weekend doesn’t mean the officer can obtain your sample without probable cause. Typically, if law enforcement suspects a driver of drunk driving, they will ask the driver to perform a field sobriety test in order to establish probable cause or gather more evidence for it. However, it is not mandatory for drivers to consent to field sobriety testing.

In conclusion, it is best to avoid driving during Memorial Day weekend altogether to avoid experiencing this type of situation. If you have been arrested for a DWI, it is imperative to seek legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

For more information, contact our Bryan and College Station criminal defense attorney at The Law Office of Shane Phelps, P.C. today.

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