Beginning October 1, 2021, Austin Police Department’s yearlong No Refusal Program takes effect. The initiative, developed to deter drunk driving and increase public safety, allows officers to get blood search warrants for suspected impaired drivers.
In a press release, the City of Austin noted that many crashes occurring on the city’s roadways involve drunk drivers, and about one-third of fatal accidents are related to driving while impaired. The aim of the No Refusal Program is to reduce alcohol-related crashes.
During the extended initiative, if a driver is suspected of drunk driving and refuses a blood or breath test, the officer can obtain a warrant to compel the driver to provide a blood sample. Requiring drivers to participate in the blood test will allow the government to collect evidence that the prosecution can use to build a case against the accused.
The No Refusal Program goes from October 1, 2021, through September of 2022. During that time, the initiative will take place every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, with additional days for holidays and special events.
We expect APD’s initiative to have a huge impact on DWI arrests and prosecution. Still, even though a driver might be required to provide a blood sample during the No Refusal Program, that does not mean there is no hope in their case. Several variables can affect test results. Additionally, if law enforcement officers fail to follow proper procedures, an argument can be made about constitutional rights violations.