The Austin Police Department (APD) and SXSW officials were not taking any chances, following last year’s alcohol fueled tragedy that left four dead and many more injured.
From March 19th to the 22nd, APD officials implemented a No Refusal policy that netted over 61 DWI arrests throughout the city. The initiative gives police the ability to obtain a warrant for blood samples in those individuals who refuse a Breathalyzer test. While controversial, the procedure is still widely used by law enforcement throughout Texas and the country. KXAN reports that of those arrested in Austin PD’s latest dragnet, 19 submitted to breath tests, while the remaining 42 gave blood samples, 35 of which were obtained using a search warrant.
At the heart of the No Refusal policy is a little known code in state law that effects all drivers, but is understood by very few. When an individual successfully obtains a driver’s license in the state of Texas, they are providing the state with what is known as “implied consent.” This means, by virtue of getting behind the wheel of a car, an individual is granting the state the ability to test his or her blood alcohol level. Failure to “consent” to such tests is in violation of Section 724.011 of the Texas State Transportation Code.
Police are required to inform drivers suspected of DWI that an immediate refusal of the test could result in the loss of driving privileges for up to 180 days. During No Refusal weekends in Austin, refusal of implied consent can result in even stiffer punishments.
If you have been arrested for DWI in Austin it is critical that you speak with a criminal defense attorney that understands and has successfully represented such cases in the past. DWI charges can be successfully refuted under the right circumstances, but only if you have proper legal representation. Call Peek & Toland to discuss your rights and case options in a free consultation.