What Does No Refusal Weekend Mean in Texas?


No Refusal Weekend in Texas

Understanding Implied Consent and the Texas “No Refusal” Program

In Texas, often at holidays or times when police know that there will a greater volume of traffic on the roads or more likelihood of people drinking and driving, counties within the state will institute what’s known as a “no refusal” program. You may or may not have heard of such an operation and may wonder what it is. The “No Refusal” program relates to the implied consent laws in Texas, which deal with your rights and obligations related to blood alcohol testing after an arrest for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

No Refusal Weekend – What Is Implied Consent?

In Texas, as in all other states, the law of “implied consent” applies whenever a motorist gets behind the wheel. Under the principle of implied consent, when you decide to operate a motor vehicle in the Lone Star State, you “imply” that you will agree to submit to a blood test if you are pulled over for suspicion of DUI or DWI. If a law enforcement officer asks you to take a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) test and you refuse, you will automatically have your driving privileges suspended for 180 days. Some courts, though, have held that implied consent violates a suspect’s 4th Amendment right to unreasonable search and seizure.

How Does the “No Refusal” Program Change the Consequences of a DUI/DWI Traffic Stop?

Under Texas law, when a motorist refuses to submit to a blood alcohol test, law enforcement officers must have a valid search warrant to compel the suspect to provide a blood sample. In most instances, that requires that the police officer appear in court and provide the judge with probable cause to issue the search warrant. Blood must be drawn by a medical professional. Furthermore, the number of people who are available to provide such services is limited during late-night hours, the time when most DUI/DWI arrests are made. As a practical matter, in the time it would take to obtain the search warrant, the suspect would most likely sober up and fail the test.

Under the “No Refusal” program, police officers may submit an electronic request for a search warrant from the scene of the traffic stop. The court may then transmit the electronic warrant to the officer’s dashboard computer or cell phone. Once the electronic warrant has been received, the law enforcement officer is legally authorized to use force to obtain a blood sample.

It’s fairly common for counties or municipalities to set up “No Refusal” weekends or put such programs in place during holidays. During such times, police departments will typically have more judges available to issue warrants, and more nurses available to take blood samples.

Contact the Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen

At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. To set up an appointment with an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.