Drinking is a common way that many Texans celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. However, those partaking in the festivities should plan ahead, making arrangements so that any temptation to drink and drive will be avoided. Local authorities will also be out in increased numbers this weekend, in an effort to minimize alcohol-related accidents over the weekend.
In the case of Montgomery County, the initiative against driving while intoxicated is a coordinated effort between assistant district attorneys, judges, medical staff and police officers. Called the No Refusal program, the operation will expedite the process of drafting blood warrants for any drivers who are arrested for DWI but refuse consent to a voluntary blood draw.
The funding for the program was made possible by Selective Traffic Enforcement Program grants from the Texas Department of Transportation.
Across the state, larger counties can apply for the STEP grants directly from the state’s transportation department, while smaller counties may participate in regional DWI task forces. In the case of Montgomery County, the STEP grant is overseen by the Houston-Galveston Area Council.
A local police chief believes the program is producing results and helping to remove DWI offenders from the road. In a recent sweep, the Montgomery County DWI Task Force arrested 28 drivers for alcohol-related offenses.
With the extra enforcement comes the potential for abuse, however. Authorities typically must have probable cause to make a DWI stop, based on objective evidence such as a traffic violation or erratic driving.
After stopping a driver, a police officer’s decision to subject a driver to field sobriety tests or breath or blood testing must be supported by the officer’s initial interview. In the hands of an experienced Houston area DWI defense attorney, an officer’s failure to observe applicable procedures may give rise to a strong defense in favor of the accused driver.
Source: yourhoustonnews.com, “DWI Task Force busy this month around county,” Howard Roden, March 7, 2013