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"No refusal" for Harris County DUI suspects over holiday

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Drivers are expected to drive with a certain standard of care, not only to protect their own safety but also that of others on the road. This standard of care includes driving sober and free of distractions. Cases of drunk driving, especially, are a serious offense throughout America and in Harris County, Texas.

Recently the Houston Police Department contemplated deploying additional officers during the recent Fourth of July weekend to catch intoxicated drivers. The department received a DWI enforcement grant to help fund the additional patrolling. To further aid in this effort, officials considered a "No Refusal" policy by which police could require drunk driving suspects to submit a blood sample.

Under this new initiative, officials could take suspects to a judge in order to obtain a search warrant and immediately thereafter take the suspect to an on-site phlebotomist for a blood sample. Law enforcement officials saw this move as necessary in a county where there have been a number of fatalities as a result of drunk drivers. Most recently, a drunk driver drove his pickup truck the wrong way and collided with another pickup truck, killing five people and injuring another.

There is no doubting the pain and suffering that is caused by a drunk driving accident, however, DUI suspects still have rights and protections afforded to them under the law, including protection against unlawful search and seizure. Policies like the "No Refusal" plan move suspects quickly through the process of obtaining a warrant and right into the search and seizure. A defendant charged with drunk driving should review the arrest process with an attorney. If the search and seizure process was not lawful, evidence obtained from such actions may not be admissible against the defendant. \

Source: Chron.com, "Police focus on 'no refusal' for holiday after string of drunk-driving deaths", Samantha Ehlinger, July 2, 2014

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