Jay Cohen Attorney at Law

St. Patrick's Day DWI Arrests High

Troopers in Harris County, Texas were on high alert for the holiday celebration


Houston, TX -- (ReleaseWire) -- 03/25/2015 --Holidays are regarded as some of the happiest days of the year, with time made for family and friends. And of course, holidays have also procured another reputation as well: as days designed for heavy drinking. Of all the holidays, St. Patrick's is one of the most infamous for high levels of intoxication, with thousands of people throughout the U.S. being brought into emergency rooms and detox centers for alcohol poisoning. But what's most dangerous, perhaps, is when those who have been drinking get behind the wheel of a car. In 2013, nine fatal accidents on St. Patrick's Day which fell on a Sunday, and an additional 38 over the preceding weekend in the state of Texas. In response, Harris County patrol officers prepared heavily for DWI drivers this St. Patty's Day, implementing a "no-refusal" policy.

Houston's No-refusal Policy

Under Texas's no-refusal laws, law enforcement officers have the right to draw the blood of anyone pulled over who's arrested on charges of drinking while driving (http://www.cohendwilawyer.com/texas-dwi-laws/). While a warrant is typically required for taking an accused person's blood, warrants are automatically granted during no-refusal weekends or days, making catching DWI-offenders quick and easy. The goal of the no-refusal policy is to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities in the state, quickly apprehending those who get behind the wheel while intoxicated, ultimately saving lives. In addition to implementing the no-refusal policy through Harris County, additionally prosecutors were also working from Thursday March 13 through Monday March 17, 2015.

DWI Arrests High During March in Harris County High

According to the Office of District Attorney Devon Anderson of Harris County, Texas, there have been an alarmingly high number of DWI arrests in the month of March over the past few years. In 2011, there were 557 arrests; in 2012, there were 497 arrests; and in 2013, there were 591 arrests. DWI arrest and crash statistics for 2015 have yet to be released, although they are expected to be equally as high. Texas is not unique in its high numbers of DWIs over holiday weekend—hundreds of people in other states throughout the nation were arrested for driving while impaired over the St. Patrick's Day 2015 weekend.

Refusal During a No-refusal Period

Some areas of the state of Texas have implemented no-refusal days year-round, which are legally justifiable under the state's implied consent laws. However, despite the law, some people flat out refuse to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test when being arrested for a DWI. While an officer does not have the right to force an individual to submit to testing, it is important to note that a refusal is a violation of implied consent laws, and can be penalized as such. You still have a right to refuse, but the refusing also incurs other penalties.