Monday, July 4, 2011

DWI No Refusal Weekend: An Explanation.

I was curious what the "No Refusal Weekend" mentioned on local highway signs meant, so I investigated. Here's my understanding of the process.

While DWI suspects still have the right to refuse to give a chemical sample, the police and DA can ask for a warrant to collect a chemical sample (usually a blood draw) from a DWI suspect. This involves drafting a warrant and getting both the prosecutor and a judge to sign off, and is usually a time-consuming process. As we all know, the faster one gets a chemical sample on a DWI case, the better; with time, the body continues to process alcohol and it leaves the blood stream. I imagine this usually makes the submission and issuing of warrants a rarity.

On "No Refusal Weekend[s]", county judges, prosecutors, and police work to temporarily streamline the process. A warrant template is drafted. A judge and a prosecutor are readily available to submit and issue the warrants, and paid nurses are on-hand to perform blood draws from suspects. The DWI suspect can still refuse to volunteer a chemical sample, but the police are empowered to procure a sample without consent in a quick enough time frame for the sample to be worthwhile evidence. In past weekends, the entire process was videotaped to help ensure the suspects' rights were protected.

I know I was initially confused by the name of the program. I hope you find this explanation helpful.