Houston Police Announce DWI "No Refusal" for July 4th Weekend

Harris County DWI Enforcement Officers are at it again with another DWI "No Refusal" weekend planned for the 4th of July.

So what exactly does that mean?  It means that if you are arrested for DWI and refuse to voluntarily give a breath test or blood test, the Government will forcibly put you in a chair and stick a needle in your arm to take your blood. 

Although the Texas Courts disagree with me, I firmly believe that our right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures in all aspects of our lives should cover a misdemeanor DWI charge.  In my opinion, the involuntary taking of a citizen's blood should not be allowed in misdemeanor DWI cases.  Let me know your thoughts on this or any other DWI related matters.

Harris County "No Refusal" Weekend - Erosion of our Constitution

On the eve of our July 4th Independence Day, the Harris County District Attorney's Office has announced another "no refusal" weekend will be in effect.  Understandably, many citizens hear this news and think that it is a great idea to get drunks off the road. However, let's take a closer look at exactly what a "no refusal" weekend really is.

Mandatory blood draws are exactly that - the police now have the ability to literally strap you down and forcibly take blood from a citizen.  I think this is absolutely the type of intrusion into our lives as citizens that should be prohibited by our Constitution.  In fact, the Fourth Amendment to our Constitution says,

the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.

First, a citizen has to be arrested for DWI in order to have a search warrant drawn up to draw the blood from that person.  Let me reiterate, the person is already arrested and in custody for Driving While Intoxicated before the search warrant is obtained.  Obviously, if the person is already in custody and under arrest for DWI, the police have removed that citizen from our streets.  Therefore, no more "drunks" are taken off of the streets as a result of this program.

Additionally, our Constitution is designed to protect all of those accused - both those that are guilty, but also those that are innocent.  We have represented clients that have been accused of drunk driving and had their blood forcibly taken from them that are below the legal limit or have had no alcohol in their system at all.  You can't tell me that strapping an innocent person to a gurney and drawing his blood against his will is not protected by our Constitution. 

Finally, Texas has a specific statute (at least for now) that forbids the Government from this type of intrusion on our lives.  Section 724.013 of the Texas Transportation Code says, "a specimen may not be taken if a person refuses to submit to the taking of a specimen designated by a peace officer."