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Friday, December 4, 2020

‘No Refusal’ goes year-round in Tarrant County

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Drivers beware! Press release 10/21/2020 Tarrant County

Tarrant County is now “No Refusal” all the time. That means drivers pulled over for suspected impaired driving who refuse to take a routine breath test will be subject to a court-ordered blood test instead.

This program began as a special effort launched around holidays when people were most likely to drink and drive. Now, No Refusal is in effect 365 days a year across Tarrant County and in all of its 41 cities.

Police officers and sheriff’s deputies have access to expedited judicial warrants and centralized blood-draw locations.

“Times have changed,” Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney Sharen Wilson said. “In the past, we focused on specific weekends. Drinking and driving is a full-time challenge. Our police chiefs agree it is best for our community and the safety of our citizens to be No Refusal all the time.”

“We are committed to arresting and prosecuting those who put others in danger when they decide to drink and drive,” Wilson said. “We are committed to getting them off the streets every day of the year.”

Last year, there were 6,001 misdemeanor and felony cases of driving while intoxicated filed in Tarrant County courts. The goal is to dramatically reduce that number.

“I am very excited about Tarrant County becoming 100% no refusal on DWIs,” Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn said. “I know that people recognize that DWIs are a threat to the safety of us all. The more that we can do to ensure that we hold offenders accountable, and provide the truth about the level of their blood alcohol content, is best for our community.”

Tarrant County joins Bexar County in becoming No Refusal all the time.
This program began in Tarrant County in 2008 under Richard Alpert, then an assistant district attorney in Tarrant County, who has long been considered the state’s leading expert on DWI and intoxication manslaughter prosecution.

“My hope was simply to focus our law enforcement resources on ways to collect the best evidence available for use in the prosecution of DWI offenses,” Alpert said. “The success of that program and those that followed on a growing list of holidays made it clear that the desire on the part of our law enforcement to participate in No Refusal was there.”

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