The media makes a major effort to educate the public when law enforcement agencies decide to have a “No Refusal Weekend.” Since the first Knox County, Tennessee DUI Enforcement “No Refusal Weekend” in July 2012, those who are mis-informed have generated a lot of incorrect information. This blog entry will attempt to explain in layman’s terms the underlying Tennessee law.
Tennessee DUI law, just like criminal law in general, has allowed an officer to apply to a neutral and detached Judge or Magistrate for a search warrant to obtain evidence from a person’s body (or possessions such as a house, car, etc. for that matter) for decades. The Implied Consent Law, which allows for a driver to refuse a chemical test in limited circumstances (T.C.A. Section 55-10-406), was previously written in a manner that could be interpreted in more than one way. In 2012, the Legislature re-wrote the law clarifying that police officers could request a search warrant from a Judge or Magistrate for the purpose of obtaining blood, breath, or urine from a driver after the officer had established sufficient grounds to arrest the motorist, even if the motorist refuses to submit to a test. In other words, there has been no substantive change in the intent of the law, only clarification of the wording.
“No Refusal Weekends” are simply a time period when a DUI prosecutor is “on call” to assist an officer in applying for a search warrant to obtain evidence from the suspected Tennessee DUI offender. This means that even if the driver refuses a chemical test, one may be forcibly taken. Thus, if the motorist refuses to provide a sample voluntarily, they may be strapped down to a board or otherwise immobilized so that a sample of blood or other bodily fluid may be extracted.
Legal arguments do exist to suppress (make inadmissible in court) the results of the blood test even after it has been analyzed. Moreover, arguments exist to prevent the motorist from being found to have violated the the Tennessee Implied Consent Law, which would otherwise require loss of license for at least one year. For further information on “no refusal weekends,” the Implied Consent Law or forced blood draws, you may contact Steve Oberman at the Oberman and Rice Law Firm at 865-249-7200 or review additional information on our website, www.tndui.com.
Thanks for putting No Refusal Weekends into perspective Steve. Based on what you’ve written here it seems that most people I’ve talked to are terribly misinformed on the issue. My guess is the fact that the title is a clear misnomer has something to do with this – and not by accident either.