By Sarah Snyder
MIDLAND - Several other cities in Texas have used this no refusal procedure, but two weeks ago Midland tried it out.
Basically, what this means is that if you're a suspect and they pull you over, you can either choose to blow into a breathalizer, or you'll have to give blood.
"You've got to understand that our population and our driving public is- the volume has increased," Lt. Brian Bogart with the Midland Police Department, said.
With 17 percent more traffic in the past year, there's a greater risk for DWI accidents.
So MPD decided to try the no refusal weekend.
"We read them the standard warning which is provided by the state of Texas, ask them for a breath test. If they said yes, we took them and gave them breath tests. If they said no, we sat them down and about a half hour later, we had a search warrant from the judge to get their blood. We had a nurse on standby. So we streamlined the process that's available to officers all the time," Bogart said.
Because the officers, judge, and nurse were all in place during that weekend, the process only took one hour. Typically, it would have taken triple that amount.
"We had what I consider to be pretty dramatic results from this team effort to show why we need to get these search warrants," Midland District Attorney Teresa Clingman, said.
The legal blood alcohol limit is .08, the average level for those who chose to take the breath test was .136. The average level for those who refused and were given the blood test was nine points higher at .22.
"The majority of the people who give you a breath test are first offenders and after that, subsequent ones, and even a lot of the first ones will refuse. And a lot of times, they're the practice drunks. They're the ones who don't do sobriety tests, they'll refuse to do them, and they'll just stand there, and stare at you when you ask them to do things.
Officers say the whole purpose is to discourage people from drinking and driving.
"Word will spread maybe for the defendants themselves and maybe they will want to get a designated driver than take that chance on getting out there. And if they do get caught, it may get a few more of them willing to take a breath test than actually have a needle stuck in them and blood drawn,"
Over that weekend, 26 DWI arrests were made.
Their ages ranged from 17 to 60.
Midland officials plan to periodically hold no refusal weekends.
The dates and times will not be announced in hopes they can catch intoxicated drivers before an accident happens.