LPD's No Refusal Program Works - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/9/08

LPD's No Refusal Program Works

The results are in and all are positive. We're talking about the blood test results from drivers suspected of DUI back in April. We first told you about this new Lubbock Police program in May and it was just used again this past 4th of July weekend. The No Refusal Program allows Lubbock Police to take suspected drunk drivers straight from the street to the hospital for a blood test when they refuse a breathalyzer.

We met with the Lubbock District Attorney's office Wednesday and they say proof like blood tests makes prosecuting DUI cases much easier. "The results were that every single individual that we did the search warrant came back in Texas law was intoxicated," said Tom Brummett with the DA's office.

That means the suspect's blood alcohol level was above .08 leaving the guess work out of prosecuting drivers for DUI. "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," said Lt. Greg Stevens with the Lubbock police.

The No Refusal Program works like this: a defiant driver suspected of DUI, who refuses a breathalyzer, is taken by police right to UMC. There, after the officer obtains a warrant, the driver's blood is taken and tested.

During the 4th of July weekend Lubbock Police took 8 drivers to UMC. However, the results on those tests are not complete.

"Breath test or a blood test makes the case far more definite for the administrative view point," said Brummett. And because of that it's the hope of Lubbock law enforcement that the No Refusal Program will become standard practice soon.

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

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

A concern for some is the cost of the program. Does the "no refusal" program cost more money to operate? The short answer is no, it doesn't. Reason being the drivers are taken to UMC for the test. It's a publicly funded hospital so there's no extra taxpayer cost associated with having to pay a hospital to do the tests.

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