St. Peters, MO, (Law Firm Newswire) December 22, 2014 - In November, Greene County announced that no-refusal DWI checkpoints will be created throughout the county, allowing police to compel DWI suspects to give blood samples through the use of warrants.
As the holidays approach, it is likely that other Missouri counties will follow suit. For New Year’s Eve 2013, St. Louis police declared the whole city a no-refusal zone, and then made the policy permanent throughout the city beginning January 1, 2014.
“People really need to understand how the no-refusal policy works and what their rights are, because these tests are very invasive,” commented DWI attorney Charlie James. “While it is important that police do what they can to keep our streets safe, they also need to protect each citizen’s right to privacy and due process.”
At the core of the program is the policy that if a driver refuses a breathalyzer test, the police can arrest that driver, obtain a warrant quickly and force him or her to give a blood sample. In effect, the policy seeks to take away a driver’s ability to refuse a blood alcohol test.
James joins the ACLU and a number of other critics of the law who warn drivers to not let police intimidate them into giving up their rights.
“In order for the police to forcibly draw blood, they still have to get a warrant. And refusing a breathalyzer is not adequate evidence of intoxication for a warrant. The police must also have other evidence of intoxication, such as slurred speech or erratic driving, to get that warrant,” said James.
So far, no court has challenged the validity of this program. Missouri is one of nine states implementing no-refusal DWI programs, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
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