Tyler police rolling out 'no-refusal' DWI program for Labor Day weekend - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

TYLER (KLTV)

Tyler police rolling out 'no-refusal' DWI program for Labor Day weekend

8 east Texas law enforcement agencies will be out in force this Labor Day weekend looking for drunk drivers, and they say they aren't taking no for an answer.

It's a brand new program called the 'No Refusal' DWI campaign. And, as KLTV 7's Danielle Capper show us, this new program could land offenders in jail with a needle in their arm.

If you're out drinking this weekend, beware.

Law enforcement officials are on the roads as well, with an extra tool at their disposal.

"We are here united as a group of law enforcement agencies to say this is not going to be tolerated," said Police Chief Gary Swindle.

Every state and local agency in Smith county say they will have patrols out targeting drunk drivers. If you are pulled over and refuse a intoxilizer test, law enforcement has a new option.

"If you don't blow into it. There is probably a reason why," said Smith County DA Matt Bingham.

Law enforcement has a new option.

"They will be immediately subject to a search warrant which will be signed by a on call justice of the peace and then there blood will be taken at the jail," said Swindle.

A nurse will be at the Smith county jail to take a blood sample.

District attorney Matt Bingham said you do have the right to refuse the breath test, but they too have the right to get a search warrant.

"We are going to have assistant DAs that will be at the jail and also on call so if they have any quiesions or anything, we can assist them," said Bingham.

Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens are also involved, so the same thing is true on the lake - they'll be looking for BWIs, boating while intoxicated.

"We are trying to be very proactive, let the public know that this is out there, in the hopes that those people who might be tempted to drive while intoxicated maybe this weekend do not and it saves some lives. It's a crime that is totally preventable," said Bingham.

It's an initiative with the hopes of deterring those drinking this holiday weekend from getting behind the wheel. Mothers Against Drunk Driving today voiced their support for the 'no refusal' DWI campaign.

The program starts this Labor Day weekend on Friday night and runs through Monday.

We wondered, as many of you have, about possible legal issues with the program. We talked to local defense attorney Brett Harrison about that. He said the courts so far have held that it is constitutional - that the Fourth Amendment covers searches. However, he says there are concerns raised in doing this.

"You've got to have a place that is sanitary. I'm not sure if the Smith County Jail would qualify like a hospital would. You've got to have people who are qualified to collect the sample. What is the cost going to be? Those are some of the issues of obvious concern," said Harrison. "You've also got the consideration of how long is this going to take. You make a DWI stop on the road, you've got to go through the process of obtaining a search warrant, having a judge sign off on it. The delay from the time of the arrest to when you get the actual blood drawn."

The 'no refusal' program has been used in many other counties in the state.

Danielle Capper, reporting. dcapper@kltv.com

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