'No Refusal' checkpoints scheduled during New Year's - WKRN News 2

'No Refusal' checkpoints scheduled during New Year's

Posted: Updated: Dec 28, 2012 04:15 PM

If you think you might get away with drinking and driving this holiday weekend, consider this: law enforcement officials no longer need your consent to get a sample of your blood.

It's called the "No Refusal" law, and it went into effect in July.

The law lets law enforcement officials, such as Sgt. Matt Perry, get a search warrant for your blood.

"Once we obtain that search warrant then we can take your blood from you, take you to the hospital and get your blood drawn, regardless of whether you want to or not," said Perry.

After nine years with the THP, Perry said he has seen his fair share of impaired drivers.

"Whether they have watery eyes, blood shot eyes, [or] slurred speech," Perry said he knows what to look for.

It can be tough work, late at night, but it's work Perry told Nashville's News 2 he takes very seriously, adding, "You see these signs now showing the fatal numbers that we've had this year and hitting 1,000. It's just, everybody's got to do their part to stop that."

According to THP, alcohol related crashes are on the rise in Tennessee.  So far in 2012, there have been more than 7,500 across the state so far this year, which is 182 more than 2011.

Authorities said they believe the new law will help them in their fight against impaired driving.

"In the past, if we stopped somebody that we believed was impaired, we would offer them a chance to submit to a blood test or a breath test and they had the option or opportunity to refuse," explained Perry.

THP organized its first "No Refusal" event over the Fourth of July holiday weekend just days after the new law took effect.

During that operation 48 people were arrested for suspicion of DUI. Officers obtained eight search warrants for blood tests during that first operation that took place in five counties.

Over the Labor Day weekend there were 74 people arrested for suspicion of DUI and one person who refused to voluntarily provide a blood sample.

The most recent operation during the Thanksgiving holiday netted 78 arrests and five people who refused to voluntarily provide a blood sample.

Already if someone has a previous DUI conviction or if children are present during a DUI stop an officer can obtain a blood sample from the driver without their consent and without a judge's approval.

That is the same for people who have previous DUI convictions.

The Wilson County District Attorney's General office told Nashville's News 2, having this blood evidence makes it easier to convict impaired drivers.

"It's definitely more tangible, it's more clear cut," added Perry, "You can see the legal limit is point oh eight, and it shows they're above it or below it. It makes it very easy."

If the "No Refusal" part of DUI checkpoints keeps just one impaired driver off the streets, Perry said that's a start.

"It's there every night, and we want people to know that," Perry added. "Hopefully, that alone will deter them from driving while impaired."

Friday night's check point in Wilson County at the intersection of Central Pike and South Mt. Juliet Road is from 11:30 p.m. until 1 a.m. Saturday morning.

Click here to visit the THP's complete list of DUI checkpoints across the state from Friday until Tuesday.

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