We are coming up on a holiday weekend, which can mean only – the State is declaring war on drunk drivers. Several years ago McLennan county decided to follow the lead of many others designate certain weekends as “no refusal weekends”. If you don’t know what it means it means that if you are stopped and suspected of driving while intoxicated, and you refuse to take the breath test, the officer will go to judge and get a warrant to take your blood. The judges agree – in the interests of getting drunk drivers off the road – to be available to sign the warrants.

So if you are driving and the police suspect you of driving while intoxicated you might end up getting a needle stuck in your arm. There are a lot of things that are offensive about this, but to me the most obvious is the forced violation of your body. Search warrants are issued all the time – it might be an inconvenience to have them go through your property, but they leave you alone. Here they physically remove evidence from you. Maybe I’m a little sensitive to this, having watched my wife give blood and take chemo more than times than I can begin to count. Rarely was it simple process; sometimes it took multiple tries, and even multiple people trying. The idea that you can subject someone to that just so the state can make a case against you is disturbing.

No one wants drunk drivers on the road – but that doesn’t mean we  have to give up our freedom. Not everyone who is stopped for driving while intoxicated is guilty. If you aren’t guilty and they took your blood, all  the police can say is I’m sorry. In this case there is no presumption of innocence.

Walter Reaves
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Criminal Defense Attorney Walter Reaves has been practicing law for over 35 years.
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