Jefferson County begins No Refusal program

Jefferson County Seal

Criminal District Attorney Cory Crenshaw announced on Oct. 10, the implementation of the No Refusal program with an ultimate goal to save lives and make Jefferson County a safer community, According to a press release, under the No Refusal program, officers may quickly obtain search warrants for the blood of any driver arrested for Driving While Intoxicated and who refuses to provide a breath sample.  Search warrants will be utilized in all cases where impaired drivers cause injuries or fatalities.  The blood is drawn in a hospital or by medical staff at the county jail and sent to a forensic laboratory, which analyzes the blood for alcohol, prescription drugs, and other controlled substances, such as marijuana or K2.

While some counties go through the effort only for major holiday weekends, Jefferson County law enforcement hopes to utilize the program every day for the foreseeable future.  Since implementing the No Refusal program, several counties have seen the number of DWI cases taken to trial plummet, with most defendants choosing to accept responsibility when confronted with the lab results.  Additionally, the program has led to more accurate charging of DWI offenses, with the DA’s office able to reject charges on individuals whose lab results come back negative.  Financial resources are also saved by officers being required to spend less time in court testifying and more time on the streets protecting our neighborhoods and roadways.

Criminal District Attorney Crenshaw stated, “The bottom line is that search warrants save lives.  While there are numerous benefits to a No Refusal program for our county, our ultimate goal will be zero fatalities due to intoxicated drivers.  With this goal in mind, we have combined resources and have the assistance of law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, medical staff, and others to make a one stop shop at the county jail to expedite this process and get officers back on our streets to protect us.”

Agencies currently participating in the No Refusal program include the Beaumont Police Department, Port Arthur Police Department, Texas Highway Patrol, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, and others.  Assistant Criminal District Attorney Wayln Thompson is the Intoxication Crimes Coordinator for Jefferson County and is leading the implementation of the No Refusal program.

Kathy Schexneider of MADD expresses appreciation for the work of law enforcement and the District Attorney’s Office in their efforts to keep our roads safe.  “I hope this new program will get people’s attention and raise awareness of the dangers and consequences of impaired driving.”