Law enforcement agencies across North Texas ramped up their efforts to nab drunk drivers in recent weeks, and they called in some help from local courtrooms and hospitals in order to do so. Per CBS DFW, state grants were used to finance what is known as a “no refusal” weekend. In no refusal operations, those who are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving can be given a blood test to determine intoxication, even if they refuse to take a breathalyzer or a blood test at the scene.
No refusal days and campaigns are not uncommon in Texas, with Tarrant County taking a lead role. The county runs about 10 no refusal campaigns throughout the year, with most of them lining up with holidays and special events where drinking is particularly commonplace. Because this type of campaign requires a judge who can issue warrants for blood tests and nurses who can administer them, most smaller law enforcement agencies would be unable to fund it, if not for the state grant money.
Though the exact number of drunk driving arrests that resulted from the most recent campaign is unclear, those who were pulled over and subsequently tested and charged with the offense face harsh penalties. Per the Texas Department of Transportation, first-time DWI offenders can lose their licenses for a period and be forced to pay annual fees for a number of years to retain their licenses. They will also have to pay hefty fines and serve time behind bars, and the penalties become stricter with each subsequent offense.
Those who drink and drive with children in the car can face even harsher punishments. Even if it is a motorist’s first offense, the presence of a child under 15 means the driver may face several years in jail, a lengthy loss of license and thousands of dollars in fines. Though a 0.08 percent blood-alcohol concentration is generally considered the threshold for intoxication, motorists can still be charged with DWI with a lower BAC if authorities believe the driver is impaired.