Report to the Nation 2011


One important issue that continues to hinder progress on DUI reform is offenders’ refusal of BAC testing when they are pulled over. In some states, implied consent to BAC testing is assumed as a condition of driving on the road. In other states, refusing to give a BAC sample is common practice and often leads to a case dismissal or a lesser plea in court. A number of states have responded by implementing no-refusal weekends. During no-refusal weekends, police set up enhanced enforcement like sobriety checkpoints. Judges stay on call around the clock to issue warrants authorizing police to draw offenders’ blood for testing if offenders refuse to cooperate with police by providing breath samples. These programs are highly publicized, so that the public and potential drunk drivers know that they can’t evade the consequences of drunk driving. The BAC is one of the most important pieces of evidence reviewed by prosecuting attorneys as they determine whether to pros- ecute, reduce the charge to a lesser offense or dismiss the case.

No-refusal crackdowns have proven effective in lowering refusal rates. They also may reduce caseloads and ensure offenders’ rights to due process. Texas is an example of a state in which more than half of suspected DUI offenders refused BAC testing in 2005. Several Texas counties responded by participating in no-refusal week- ends. The results have been very promising. In fact, one county, Montgomery County, reduced refusals by over 50 percent while increasing DUI convictions and reducing DUI dismissals. MADD calls on all states to utilize the national DUI crackdown events to hold no-refusal weekends.


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