Some in legal community have issues with "no refusal" | Crime
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Law enforcement agencies are planning to rack up some overtime this Labor Day weekend while combating drunk driving.
One tool the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission is using is raising some eyebrows, though.
This Labor Day will be a "no refusal" weekend. That means even if you refuse a breath test officers could still take your blood.
Some members of the legal community have an issue with that plan saying "no refusal" could mean "no conviction."
No refusal weekend is simple. If you refuse to give a breath test under suspicion of drunk driving, the police will ask a judge for a search warrant. Armed with a warrant, they can legally take your blood without your permission making it much easier to get a conviction in court.
"There will be judges on standby. The officers will fax the probable cause affidavit and search warrant to these judges. They will be sworn in over the telephone. The judge will then review the probable cause affidavit and determine if there is probable cause to issue a search warrant to get blood from that individual," said District Attorney Norma Broussard.
Defense Attorney and former State Trooper Glynn Deslatte says he sees a problem for the prosecutor if blood or breath samples are obtained from the threat of a search warrant.
"I don't think the whole process is legal," said Deslatte. Deslatte says the word "coercion" comes to mind.
"I don't think this has been thought out. I don't think anyone has looked at the possibilities and the angles and the defenses that's going to come out of it and the expenses. And we just push to prosecute and to beat up on people who are accused of DWI," Deslatte added.
But Jefferson Parish DA Norma Broussard disagrees. She says convictions translate to fewer people drinking and driving.
"Judges and juries want chemical tests. So in order to deter people from drinking and driving the best thing to do is to prosecute them to the fullest extent and getting a conviction," said Deslatte.
The Labor Day weekend officially starts at 6 p.m. Friday and continues to 6 a.m. Tuesday morning.
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