Labor Day No Refusal Weekend for DWI and BWI Arrests
Austin Police and the Texas Department of Public Safety announced they will be conducting a “no refusal initiative”through labor day weekend until September 9th. This comes as no surprise as these “initiatives” regularly occur now for every major and minor holiday and local event. This program applies to all DWI and BWI arrests in Travis County and the surrounding area. I’ve repeatedly wrote about this policy and how it’s characterized by local law enforcement and certain media outlets as a mandatory blood draw for those who refuse to consent to breath or blood tests. This is not, and never was the truth. The truth is if you get arrested for DWI, you will be asked to provide a specimen of breath or blood, AFTER being placed into custody in accordance with Texas law. The ‘no refusal’ aspect is a misnomer. You can and should refuse. Providing a specimen voluntarily at this point is not in your best interest, and the police will not “un-arrest” you if the results come back less than a .08 (the legal limit in Texas). Particularly with a blood test where results are unknown for several weeks or months after the draw (what happens to the blood in the meantime is always suspect). Rather, the police or local law enforcement who arrested you must still present facts amounting to probable cause to a magistrate to secure a search warrant before they take your blood. Any judge/magistrate will tell you this process is not automatic, and they do, at least occasionally, decline issuing the warrant. Also, your lawyer’s job is to find a way to pick apart the affidavit for search warrant to show that probable cause did not exist at the time it was issued. Austin Police Department actually seeks search warrants for those who refuse breath or blood year round, every day of the week. They just announce it during the holidays and special events as a reminder I suppose. Many other local agencies in the Texas Hill Country and San Antonio also seek warrants year round with little or no publicity. Remember you do not have to and should not attempt to do the police field sobriety tests. Your first offense DWI or BWI can be enhanced to a class A misdemeanor if it is shown that your blood alcohol content is greater than a .15.
There is also a ban on personal watercraft this weekend on Lake Austin including jet skis, motorized surfboards, and wet bikes. Be safe out there. I will be available all weekend for jail release in Travis County and free consultations throughout the hill country including but not limited to Burnet County, Hays County, Llano County, Kerr County, and Williamson County, To contact me either submit the free consultation form on this website or call my office.