BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS (KVEO NEWSCENTER 23) — Zero tolerance when it comes to drinking and driving on Brownsville roads is an absolute and prior to Friday, if a driver was caught behind the wheel under the influence, they could refuse a breath test by an officer. They technically still can, but an even more accurate and invasive test will then be administered.
"As a condition of that drivers license, if you read that, the condition to submit to a breath test if you are suspected, now if you refuse, what's the next step...Officers are authorized under the law to get a search warrant for your blood," said Brownsville Police Chief Orlando Rodriguez.
The Brownsville Police Department has implemented a new year round "No Refusal" policy when it comes to driving under the influence.
"One hundred and seventy four alcohol related accidents, you're talking a lot of injuries, a lot of damaged property and we did have a couple of fatalities and that's what we are trying to prevent," said Chief Rodriguez.
That number from last year alone. He says if a suspected drunk driver refuses a breath test back at the jail, a quick call is all it takes.
"Our local magistrates are on call and so they know, our local judges know that they may be called any hour of the day or night, where they would be asked to sign off on these complaints and search warrants," said Chief Rodriguez.
He and the District Attorney Luis Saenz said that while a blood draw may take a little more work initially, it's even better for their case when it comes to prosecution.
"Blood reading is very precise proof, basically irrefutable," said Cameron Co. District Attorney Luis Saenz.
The chief added that the costs incurred conducting a blood draw are minimal, especially in comparison to the overall benefits the program will will provide.
"I think it's long overdue and I think if we have the ability to do so, why not?" he said.