Pro-Con: Should Victoria enact a no-refusal policy for DWIs?
Dec. 15, 2013 at 6:15 a.m.
Updated Dec. 16, 2013 at 6:16 a.m.
If a driver is pulled over in Victoria and suspected to be intoxicated, it's the right of the driver to refuse taking a field sobriety test or providing a blood or breath sample.
The current exception - a mandatory blood draw without a warrant - would force the driver to supply a blood sample if a child under the age of 15 is in the vehicle, a serious injury or fatality has occurred or the driver has two or more previous drunken driving convictions.
Victoria requires a warrant to be obtained in any other circumstance.
When a Victoria motorist was arrested earlier this year on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, police could not obtain a warrant to get a sample of his blood. Because of the lack of evidence obtained during the arrest, which included no dashboard camera video and a refused Breathalyzer test, the motorist was not charged.
A no-refusal policy might have changed the outcome of that case, proponents of the change argue. The policy, which has been enacted throughout Texas during specific weekends, such as Fourth of July, and is in widespread use in San Antonio, would place a magistrate judge on standby to sign warrants that would authorize a forced blood draw from a suspected drunken driver, regardless of mandatory blood draw requirements.
Supporters of the no-refusal policy say it would streamline the process and showcase a tougher policy against drunken driving while those against it say it violates civil liberties and presents an opportunity for officers to cut legal corners.
Should the city of Victoria enact a no-refusal policy?