Many drivers who are pulled over for alleged DWI (driving while intoxicated) refuse to take breath tests, even if it means they could be at risk of receiving penalties. This is seen as a way for drivers to prevent officers from obtaining DWI evidence that could be used against them in court later on. The city of St. Louis, however, has now found a way around the breath test refusals.
Just before the start of the New Year, the city launched its "No Refusal Zone" initiative, which allows officers to automatically seek search warrants, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. These search warrants can grant an officer the legal authority to have a blood test conducted on the driver (for the purpose of determining that person's blood alcohol concentration level), despite the fact that the driver refused the test. Here's how the process works—the officer gets in contact with the the prosecutor who is on call, and then that prosecutor requests the warrant from the judge who is on call.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article, data shows that breath test refusals have become much more common across the country. The states in the U.S. have a broad spectrum of refusal rates, spanning from 2.4% to 81%. St. Louis' breath test refusal rate is higher than 50%, while the national average is 22.4%.
The new "No Refusal Zone" initiative is one clear example of how St. Louis authorities are cracking down on alleged DWI offenders. In this type of environment, it becomes even more crucial that an accused driver have a strong defense lawyer on his or her side. At Sumner Law Group, LLC, we have St. Louis criminal defense attorneys who have extensive experience handling DWI cases. Make sure you get the help you need when you are accused of driving while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs. Contact our firm today!