54 DWI arrests made over No Refusal Halloween weekend, APD says

Will Clark

Over the weekend and Monday night, the Austin Police Department made 54 DWI arrests during the hours in which the no-refusal policy was in place, according to an APD press release.

The policy was in place for an extra day this year because Halloween fell on a Monday, which coincides with the higher number of DWI arrests compared to the 41 DWI arrests made last Halloween weekend.

During a no-refusal initiative, if a driver refuses a breathalyzer test, the officer could apply for a search warrant for blood samples, which the driver cannot refuse. The initiative was in place every day this weekend from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

According to the APD press release, 36 of the 54 arrests were Class B misdemeanors, which consists of a first offense only. Only five were felony DWI arrests.

Jessica Wagner, the manager of health promotion at University Health Services, encouraged students to plan ahead to get home safely.

“These are the things we say for every weekend,” Wagner said. “But I think it’s typically magnified on a special event like Halloween.”

Wagner also said the no-refusal policy doesn’t normally have a huge effect on students because they are not usually driving.

“Our students are the savviest at knowing other ways to get home,” Wagner said. “I just encourage everyone to continue on the good path of finding a safe way home and not driving.”

Wagner said she’s happy Halloween fell on a Monday and that it could have helped curb some of the danger for students.

“The Austin Police Department is continuously focused on preventing lives from being lost on the streets, highways and waterways of Austin,” APD said in a press release. “The Department is dedicated to making the roadways and waterways of Austin safe for residents and visitors through education and enforcement.”