DWI Summit shows ‘No Refusal’ program a success

HARLINGEN — Since the implementation of “No Refusal” last June, the Cameron County District Attorney’s office has seen an increase in willing breath tests and an increase in prosecutions of drunk drivers.

Cameron County prosecutors began requiring breathalyzer or blood test results to pursue driving under the influence cases last year.

That triggered a countywide shift in how law enforcement officers interact with motorists they suspect are intoxicated.

Prior to the year round policy, “No Refusal” was only implemented during important holidays when DWI’s were most active.

Under the “No Refusal” policy, motorists arrested under the suspicion of drinking and driving who opt not to blow into the breathalyzer are taken before a judge, who can authorize a blood sample.

The officer then takes the suspect to a hospital for a blood test, the results of which become evidence in the ensuing court proceedings.

District Attorney Luis V. Saenz said Cameron County is the first county south of San Antonio where those arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence can be forced to submit to a blood test under a judge’s order.

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By the Numbers


480 arrests

• Breath Test – 261

• Blood Draw – 219

• Warrant – 154

• Voluntary – 65


174 dispositions

• 104 – guilty pleas

• 45 – pre-trial diversion program

• 5 – referred to veterans court

• 20 – dismissals