DWI No Refusal Policy Results - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/9/08

DWI No Refusal Policy Results

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The Lubbock Police Department awaits the blood tests of eight people who refused a breathalyzer this weekend.

NewsChannel 11 first told you about the refusal policy in May. It means if a police officer suspects you of driving while intoxicated, and you refuse to take a breathalizer test they can take you to the hospital with a warrant to get a blood sample.

Law enforcement has tried out the no refusal program twice now. First in April, and then again this holiday weekend. Each time they pulled over eight people who refused to take a breathalizer test and brought them to UMC for a blood sample.  From the results of those blood tests, it looks like the program is proving effective.

"It's always been a very frustrating thing to stop someone who appears to be intoxicated, conduct field sobriety tests, and develop probable cause that they are in fact intoxicated, and then when the individual refuses to take a breath test it always frustrates the officer because it makes the case less solid," says Lubbock police officer Gregory Stevens. 

With the no refusal policy, officers can get around this frustration.

"Breath test or a blood test makes the case far more definite for the administrative view point," said Stevens.

The results from the April operation's blood tests are in, and they did make the case more definite.

"The results were that every single individual that we did the search warrant came back in Texas law was intoxicated," said assistant District Attorney Tom Brummett 

The District Attorney's office is following up on all eight cases, and Brummet says he thinks those cases would be more difficult to prosecute without the blood tests.

"That's where we are right now is evaluating the effectiveness and seeing how it plays out in the courts," said Brummet.

Right now law enforcement is only using the no refusal policy on certain test weekends, but Brummett hopes the no refusal program will become more common in the future.

"Our next step is going to be opening it up, instead of having there select officers go out on occasional, we pick a high risk drinking date and doing it. Our next step is going to be opening it up to regular patrol cops that are out just on shift because they're the ones making most of these dwi arrests," said Brummett.

Law enforcement thinks this program is working to keep Lubbock's streets safe.

Stevens said, "We feel that the new law will be quite effective for us as well as the D.A's office & will provide far more convictions down the road."

The District Attorney's office is still waiting to get results from the July 4th weekend blood tests. Once they get those they can move forward with the cases.

It isn't set in stone yet, but Brummet says they hope to have another test run over Labor Day weekend.

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