Law Enforcement Agencies Step Up Enforcement During No Refusal Weekend

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

ECTOR COUNTY - If you're thinking about getting behind the wheel after a few drinks this weekend, you might want to think again. It's a no refusal weekend across the state.

That means if you refuse a breathalyzer, you'll be forced to give a blood sample instead.

All over Texas, several law enforcement agencies are out in full force cracking down on drunk drivers in this no refusal weekend.

This is the first no refusal weekend that's been set up in Ector County.

"Across the state, Labor Day Weekend is a weekend known for DWI's, DWI crashes and fatality crashes," DPS Sgt., Hunter Lewis, said.

If a person suspected of DWI refuses to take a breathalyzer, they'll be brought to Odessa Regional Medical Center for a blood sample.

"What's unique about this weekend is we actually have judges on site ready to sign a search warrant for the blood," Sgt. Lewis said. "Blood will be drawn here on site, sealed in a tube and packaged up and sent off to the lab for testing."

Sgt. Lewis said time is of the essence for everything to run smoothly.

"Once the officers get that blood and get everything taken care of, they're released to the jail staff and the officers can get right back on the road," he said. "The turnaround is very quick."

Charles Hodges of Stop DWI in Midland hopes no refusal becomes law.

"Like the sign on the road says, DWI you can't afford it," he said. "Well that's exactly the truth."

However there's one new law that went into effect just in time for the holiday weekend.

The law is called the Extreme DWI law. If you're stopped and your blood alcohol concentration is .15 or higher, then you're automatically bumped up to a Class A misdemeanor.

"I'm happy that the legislature passed that kind of law," Hodges said. "I think it was needed. It's going to help."

The new DWI law carries a stiffer fine of $4,000.

Hodges and Lewis both hope that drivers will be safe instead of sorry this weekend.

"Once you've had too much to drink, don't get behind the wheel," Sgt. Lewis said. "You see the signs by TXDOT. Drink, drive, go to jail and that's what we're here for. That's what we're doing and that's why we put this together."

Hodges tells NewsWest 9, a little more than a dozen people were taken in for DWI in Ector County on Friday night.