What are your rights? Cops watching for DWI this New Year's weekend

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IRVING -- Traffic units across Texas will have a keen eye to the streets this New Year’s weekend as the celebration naturally leads to some bad decisions to drive drunk.

Irving Police released a video on their Facebook page informing drivers they are running a “No Refusal” policy on Friday and Saturday night. The video is backed by statistics that 44 people were killed in traffic accidents in Texas during last New Year’s weekend.

“Our ultimate goal here is to not have anyone out there drunk driving at all,” said Officer James McLellan with Irving PD.

The department uses “No Refusal” four times a year on weekends and holidays where alcohol is often included in party plans. Officers investigating Driving While Intoxicated cases have search warrants at the ready and a judge on standby to sign them allowing the officer to take a blood sample even if the suspect refuses to consent.

“There are folks out there that think it is not lawful, but case law is on our side on this,” McLellan said. “It is all done pursuant to a lawful search warrant.”

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Still, DWI attorney Marc Fellman said drivers should still know their constitutional rights if they are pulled over. First and foremost, he said officers must have a reason.

“Police have to have a legal reason to stop you,” Fellman said. “And if they do not tell you, you should ask them.”

DWI suspects are required to identify themselves and present that ID and insurance, but they are not required to answered detailed questions according to Fellman.

“When police ask you where you are coming from and where you are going, those questions are all designed to give them more evidence to prosecute you. You should say as little as possible but still be respectful and polite.”

On days and in areas where they are not running “No Refusal,” Fellman said you can refuse the field sobriety test, the breathalyzer or any other method the officer may ask to gather evidence of your level of intoxication. However, he acknowledges doing so probably means a trip to jail.

“Most likely, the officer is going to arrest you if you refuse a test," he said.