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Hoping To Crack Down On Drunk Drivers, Tarrant County Launches Another 'No Refusal' Operation
Fort Worth Police will be among those in Tarrant County launching a "No Refusal" policy during the holidays. If drivers suspected of driving drunk refuse a breath or blood test, a warrant will be issued for a blood test.

Some North Texas police departments are about to enforce their “no refusal” policy that cracks down on drunk drivers. It’s becoming a part of the holidays.


Police say more drunk drivers get behind the wheel during the holidays than at other times of the year. That makes driving riskier for them and us. So departments insist on testing suspect drivers who cannot legally say “no” – that’s the "no refusal" part.

Tarrant County launched its "no refusal" operation Christmas Eve. Dallas police is conducting its own "no refusal" program during the New Year’s holiday. The Dallas initiative starts at 6 p.m. Monday and ends at 6 a.m. Thursday.

“If you don’t consent to giving a sample of breath or blood, a search warrant will be obtained and one will be taken from you anyways," says  Richard Alpert with the Tarrant County District Attorney's office. “And the program’s designed to help deter people from testing us on that point and encourage people not to drive while intoxicated.”

Tarrant County got a $300,000 grant to help cover the additional “no refusal” costs. They include nurses hired to draw blood when required, instead of taking suspects to hospital ERs. Judges are also on call to issue warrants.

Alpert says "no refusal" works. It’s helped reduce the number of Tarrant’s DWI arrests during the holidays.

“If the word gets out that people cannot escape the responsibilities of this behavior, that the evidence will be  collected and results will be pretty definite, then I think it deters" bad behavior, Alpert says.

Alpert says this year’s goal in Tarrant County is to keep driving while intoxicated arrests under 100. The names and ages of those arrested and charged with DWI will show up on the Tarrant County district attorney's website.

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.