If you live in Texas, then you’ve likely heard about our state’s implementation of no refusal weekends. A no refusal weekend refers to set weekend dates, generally on holiday weekends, where police officers are able to get a blood search warrant for suspected drunk driving faster than usual.
What many people don’t know, however, is that in large areas like Harris County, “No Refusal Weekend” is nearly 24/7, meaning being charged with DWI in Texas is always a very real risk if you drive under the influence. If you are arrested on suspicion of DWI on a so-called No Refusal Weekend or any other time of year, you need a strong DWI attorney to defend your case. Here is your guide to navigating a no refusal weekend.
What does no refusal weekend mean in Texas?
What is Texas’ no refusal law? While there is no specific law covering them, “no refusal” weekends give law enforcement the advantage of quickly receiving a search warrant for anyone refusing blood tests or a breathalyzer during a DWI investigation. The name of these weekends are misleading and do not truly mean “no refusal” as you still have the right to refuse a breath or a blood test.
However, the difference is that a chemical testing or field sobriety test refusal will likely still result in you having to take the chemical test once a warrant has been issued. If you refuse both, then the officer will charge you with both the refusal and the DWI in their DWI report. We typically recommend that you choose to take the breathalyzer, as the results of these tests are much easier to dispute in court than those of a blood test.
That said, according to the Texas Transportation Code there are certain situations in which the accused is unable to refuse chemical testing including situations where:
- The DWI involved an accident that caused death or serious bodily injury (somebody went to the hospital)
- The driver is currently on DWI probation
- The driver has been convicted of DWI-Child Passenger or DWI-manslaughter
- The defendant has at least two prior regular DWI convictions
What happens if you refuse a breathalyzer in Texas on a no refusal weekend?
If you’ve been pulled over for driving while intoxicated, despite what you may have heard, do not refuse the breathalyzer test. Due to the expedited process on these weekends, refusing a breathalyzer in Texas won’t do much good as the officer will likely obtain a warrant for a blood test fairly quickly, which is worse for you and your case in every way.
If your case gets taken to court, it’s better to have a breathalyzer test than a blood test. This is because breathalyzer tests leave more room for error and make it easier for your attorney to establish reasonable doubt. Blood tests may also include tests for other drugs and pharmaceuticals, potentially opening your case up to a whole different set of problems.
How do DWI traffic stops work
If a police officer suspects that you’ve been drinking and driving, he will pull you over and ask for a breath test. If the driver does not consent, the police will move to obtain a blood search warrant. In order to do this, the officer must have had reasonable suspicion to have pulled you over and needs probable cause to believe that you are driving over the legal BAC limit.
As we’ve established, on no refusal weekends, these warrants are obtained much quicker than normal, allowing the officer to obtain a blood sample and charge you with DWI.
No refusal weekend Texas dates
So, when is no refusal weekend Texas? The dates for no refusal weekends change every year — and in some counties, it’s every weekend — but you can typically assume that they’ll be timed around holidays that are associated with drinking and driving such as Labor Day, Memorial Day, the 4th of July, New Year’s Eve, and the Super Bowl. It is also enforced on Halloween weekend and from Thanksgiving through New Year’s.
Pulled over on a no refusal weekend? You need a serious DWI attorney from Thiessen Law Firm.
In Harris County, every weekend is treated like a no refusal weekend meaning it’s absolutely crucial you take the proper precautions if you’re planning on drinking outside of your home. This could mean designating a sober driver, taking advantage of ride-share options, or staying at a friend’s house. If you do get arrested for drinking and driving, don’t wait to hire a Houston DWI attorney.
Mark Thiessen from Thiessen Law Firm is Board Certified in DWI Defense Law, meaning he has the knowledge and experience to get you a “not guilty” verdict –– just like he has for 100+ clients like you.
If you are facing a DWI charge in Texas, call Thiessen Law Firm at 713-864-9000 or contact us online today for a FREE case consultation.
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