While Texas holiday celebrations and social events are filled with joy and merriment, it’s crucial to put everyone’s safety on the road as a top priority. The alarming increase in incidents of drunk driving is one such issue. The State of Texas has responded by implementing the practical “no-refusal weekends” program. To ensure a safe and responsible experience during these times, drivers must be aware of the stricter enforcement measures in place and take proactive steps.
Below, we take a look at the significance of Texas’ no-refusal weekends, including the holidays when these weekends are effective, what they mean for drivers, and valuable tips for preparing for these events. Being aware of these measures will help ensure a safer road environment for all.
What Are No-Refusal Weekends in Texas?
In April 2021, the Texas Department of Public Safety instituted a policy known as “no-refusal weekends,” during which anyone arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated (DWI) must submit to a breathalyzer, blood alcohol, or chemical test. It doesn’t make it illegal to say no to a breathalyzer on those particular weekends. The policy makes law enforcement’s ability to collect data on DUI cases easier.
Under the no-refusal policy, law enforcement officers can obtain an immediate search warrant if a driver refuses to take a breathalyzer or chemical test. Judges are available on call to police, who can contact them during traffic stops. The officer must inform the judge that there was reasonable suspicion to stop the driver and probable cause to suspect that the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If the judge grants the warrant, the driver is then forced to take a blood test to determine the amount of alcohol in their system.
The goal of these weekends is to discourage drunk driving and reduce the number of alcohol-related accidents on Texas roads.
Which Weekends Are No-Refusal Weekends?
These specifically timed law enforcement initiatives fall on holidays and other occasions, such as the Super Bowl and some additional sporting events, where alcohol consumption is known to spike. No-refusal weekends are frequently held during the following holidays and are typically announced in advance:
- New Year’s Eve.
- St. Patrick’s Day.
- Memorial Day.
- Independence Day.
- Labor Day.
What About Implied Consent?
The Texas Transportation Code applies the implied consent law to all licensed drivers. By driving in Texas, you implicitly consent to a chemical test to identify intoxication if a law enforcement officer suspects you of driving drunk or while intoxicated. Refusing testing might lead to license suspension and legal action.
Can You Refuse a Sobriety Test During a No-Refusal Weekend?
Yes, you have the right to refuse a sobriety test during no-refusal weekends in Texas. If you refuse, however, the officer will likely arrest you and charge you with both refusal and DWI in the DWI report. Your license will be suspended for up to 180 days, regardless of whether you’re prosecuted for driving under the influence. Refusing a sobriety test doesn’t guarantee that you won’t be charged with DWI; rather, it may actually strengthen the case against you. Additionally, your blood test results can be used in court as evidence.
When Can You Not Refuse a Sobriety Test During No-Refusal Weekends?
The Texas Transportation Code states that drivers accused of DWI aren’t permitted to decline sobriety testing in specific circumstances, such as:
- When an accident caused by suspected DWI results in fatalities or serious injuries.
- When the driver is currently on probation for a DWI.
- When the driver has at least two previous convictions for ordinary DWI.
- When the driver was found guilty of DWI that resulted in manslaughter, assault, or DWI with a child passenger.
How To Stay Safe on the Road During No-Refusal Weekends
No-refusal weekends are a proven method for reducing the number of alcohol-related incidents and fatalities during periods of high risk. Drivers need to plan ahead and make responsible decisions when consuming alcohol, particularly during holidays and special events when there may be a greater temptation to drink excessively. By adopting proactive efforts, such as the seven suggestions below, you can help ensure safer roadways for everyone:
- Don’t drink and drive. If you’re going to drink, know your limits, and don’t drink more than you can handle.
- Have a designated driver or call a taxi or ride-sharing service. If you’re close by, walk home with a friend.
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Eat while drinking and have water after each drink.
- Consider drinking beverages with a lower alcohol content.
- Be aware of your surroundings and drive defensively.
- If the police pull you over, be polite and cooperative. Don’t argue with the police.
- If you are arrested, ask for an attorney immediately.
Remember that drinking and driving endangers not only your own life but also the lives of others on the road. The consequences can be legal, physical, or emotional, so making sensible decisions is best.
If you’ve been stopped in San Marcos, Texas, or the surrounding areas during a no-refusal weekend or arrested for driving while intoxicated in Texas, you need to talk to a defense attorney as quickly as possible to learn about your legal options.
Trust Your DWI Defense to the Law Firm of Case J. Darwin
That’s where having Case J. Darwin on your side when it comes to DWI defense is your best chance. We have experience defending clients facing a variety of DWI charges. Our team of dedicated criminal defense lawyers will work tirelessly to investigate your case, gather evidence, and build a strong defense strategy tailored to your unique circumstances. We aim to help you avoid or minimize the penalties associated with a DWI conviction, including fines, license suspension, and even jail time.
We’ve successfully gotten many of our client’s charges dismissed or significantly reduced. Our team also represents clients facing other criminal charges, including federal crimes and property crimes, such as robbery. For a free consultation, call 512-738-6146 or use our online form to contact the team at Case J. Darwin Law Office today.