DWI Suspicion and No Refusal Weekends

Researchers assert that drunk driving deaths are up to four times higher around holidays like Memorial Day. As the unofficial kickoff of summer, it’s easy to see how things can get out of hand.

Local police departments and the Department of Public Safety logically ramp up traffic stops around holidays like Memorial Day when they know people will drink more. While there may be other “no refusal” dates in some jurisdictions dependent upon special events, usually Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Halloween and the Thanksgiving through New Year’s holiday season include “no refusal” weekends.

I typically do not recommend that individuals stopped for suspicion of DWI take the field sobriety test or blow into a breathalyzer. That being said, if you’re driving and cause injury to another person during a no refusal weekend, you may not have a choice.

What is no refusal?

A “no refusal” period is a designated short time period during which law enforcement may, under certain circumstances, swiftly obtain search warrants for all persons arrested for DWI who refuse to voluntarily give a breath or blood sample. Thanks to the availability of on-call judges or magistrates, a law enforcement officer can quickly obtain a warrant to acquire a blood sample. This means time is NOT on your side. “No refusal” does NOT mean drivers have zero choice in submitting to a breath or blood test if pulled over for suspicion of DWI. Rather, it means law enforcement may forcibly take a blood sample from an individual suspected of DWI IF any of the following are true:

  • any individual has died or will die;
  • an individual other than the person operating the vehicle or boat has suffered a serious bodily injury; or
  • any individual other than the person operating the vehicle or boat has been transferred to a hospital or medical facility for treatment.

Additionally, if an individual is operating a vehicle or boat with a child passenger under the age of 15, law enforcement have the power to hold you down without your consent and without a search warrant.

If you are pulled over on suspicion of DWI in any circumstances other than those described above, I absolutely do not recommend taking the field sobriety test. While this will result in an automatic 180-day license suspension, in my opinion, this is a small price to pay to avoid dealing with the results of such a test when defending your case.

If you plan to drink, the absolute most responsible way to enjoy the holiday weekend with friends and family is to designate a driver or take an Uber or Lyft if you have had too much to drink and need to get home. Hosting a party? Get the keys from those who over-imbibe and make sure everyone leaves with a sober driver. The risks are simply too great to take.

Need help? Call 972-ASK-CHAD. Our phones are answered 24/7! Dealing with a past DWI? We may be able to help you seal your record. Give us a call! We love to help.

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