What is a No Refusal Weekend?

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police lightsNo Refusal Weekends

With the holiday season right around the corner, No-Refusal Weekends are likely to be something you hear about. Law enforcement agencies proclaim a weekend will be ‘No Refusal,’ which implies that anyone suspected of drunk driving will not have the option of refusing a chemical test.

In theory, during a No Refusal Weekend, officers would be able to force a blood draw if a person refuses a breathalyzer or urine test.

Most commonly, No Refusal Weekends take place during periods with an increase in intoxicated driving.

For instance, you’ll likely hear about No Refusal Weekends scheduled for:

  • Memorial Day
  • Fourth of July
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas
  • New Years
  • Super Bowl Weekend

During No Refusal Weekends, law enforcement officials can obtain warrants for blood or urine draws faster than usual if a person is suspected of drunk driving and refuses a breathalyzer or blood test. More resources are available during these weekends and judges are on-call to review and sign affidavits.

This differs from regular weekends because normally law enforcement isn’t as aggressive about getting warrants for a blood draw and if they are, doing so takes longer.

The trouble with No Refusal Weekends is that they aren’t what they seem.

Despite the name, you still have the right to refuse a chemical test, just as you would at any other time. No Refusal event in place or not, you can refuse a field sobriety test, as long as you are willing to accept the immediate consequences of your refusal. These include automatic suspension of your driver’s license and the possibility of facing additional charges.

What Should You Do If You are Stopped during a No Refusal Weekend?

The same thing you would do if you are stopped at any other time.

You are never required to provide a breath or blood sample after you are pulled over on suspicion of DWI. The only way law enforcement can force a blood draw is by obtaining a warrant, which takes time, and during that time you’ll be able to contact an experienced DWI attorney.

An attorney can make sure law enforcement had reasonable cause to pull you over and ask you to submit to a field sobriety test. He or she will also review the process for obtaining the warrant and determine if everything was legal.

Why Do No Refusal Weekends Exist If You Can Still Refuse a Blood Test?

The reason No Refusal Weekends are used is that they are successful at reducing the number of intoxicated drivers on the road. Law enforcement and safety officials are relying on the threat of a blood test to deter people from breaking the law. Many people do not realize they still have the right to refuse a blood test so they opt to not drink and drive.

Despite not being an accurate description of what law enforcement can and cannot do during a given time, the public tends to take extra precautions and avoid breaking the law.

But if you are involved in a traffic stop during a No Refusal Weekend, it’s important to keep in mind that even if you are breaking the law by driving while intoxicated, you still have rights. Criminal offense charges do not override a person’s constitutional rights even if you were breaking the law.

To read more about the rights you are guaranteed while under arrest, check out this information from Nolo.com.

If you are arrested during a No Refusal Weekend, the best thing you can do is contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. This ensures the circumstances of your arrest will be evaluated by someone who understands the laws regarding traffic stops and that your rights will not be further violated during the judicial process.

If you have questions about No Refusal Weekends or you are being charged with a DWI, contact Gary Tabakman at (713) 331-9457.