KARNES COUNTY – The new “no refusal” policy adopted recently by Karnes County is working exactly as local officials hoped it would, according to information from a DPS trooper who works in Karnes County.
DPS Trooper Steve Bailey said he has made several DWI arrests since the policy was adopted almost two months ago and it has worked exactly as the policy was designed.
“It worked well,” Bailey said, referring to the first time the policy came into play with a DWI arrest made several weeks ago.
Bailey said that a county deputy called him to the scene where a suspected drunk driver was not cooperating and refused the field sobriety tests.
The driver was informed that Karnes County is now a “no refusal” county, but he still refused to cooperate.
Bailey told the driver he was going to get a search warrant for a blood test. The justice of the peace was called at 3 a.m. and Bailey drove to the JP’s house while the deputy drove the man to the hospital. Bailey met them at the hospital with the signed search warrant, the man’s blood was drawn, and the evidence was collected for future prosecution.
“We want everybody to cooperate,” Bailey said.
In this case, the man didn’t think the warrant would actually be served, Bailey said, adding that local law-enforcement officers have every intention of following through on these warrants when drivers refuse to take a breathalyzer test or perform field sobriety tests.
The “no refusal” policy, which has also been adopted in other parts of South Texas, means that when a driver is arrested for DWI, the driver can no longer refuse breathalyzer or blood testing to determine their blood alcohol concentration.
If a breathalyzer test requested by the police officer is refused by the driver, the officer will then deliver paperwork to a justice of the peace who will then immediately sign a warrant ordering a blood test administered on the driver at Otto Kaiser Memorial Hospital.
Bailey and other local officials have said that the goal of the new policy is for the sake of improving safety on public roads, and they hope safety does improve once the public understands the new policy and its effectiveness as a new tool for the successful prosecution of DWI offenders.