Austin police, various agencies to enforce no-refusal weekend

Allison Harris

The Austin Police Department joined 212 other law enforcement agencies in the state to combat drunken driving with a no-refusal weekend beginning Friday and ending Monday night. Drivers who refused a breathalyzer test would be forced to have their blood drawn after a judge issued a warrant. APD has done no refusal weekends for major holidays including July fourth since October 2008, said Corporal Anthony Hipolito.

“Everybody’s out and about and everybody’s out on four-day weekends, there’s a lot of travel,” he said. “Even if it’s just local, there are a lot of people out on the roads.”

Last year, APD arrested 25 people for DWIs on July 3 and 4. Of the arrests, 12 came from people who were required to take a blood test, and 10 of those arrested had a blood alcohol content double the amount at which it’s legal to drive.
Hipolito, said more than 50 percent of the 49 traffic fatalities in Austin in 2010 involved alcohol. Despite controversy over the no-refusal weekends, Hipolito said the actions will not violate civil liberties.

“We’re not violating anybody’s rights,” he said. “There’s a high number of DWI arrests that are made in Austin. To combat that, we do no-refusal weekends from time. We just want to encourage everybody not to drink and drive.”