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“No Refusal Weekend” in Columbus
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Drinking and driving in Columbus this holiday weekend won’t just land drivers in jail.
If a suspected drunk driver refuses a breathalyzer test, they’ll head to the hospital with Columbus Police.
Officers will then contact a judge for a search warrant, and the driver’s blood will be drawn.
Columbus Division of Police spokeswoman Amanda Ford says they’re calling it “No Refusal Weekend.”
“We’re just giving it a try here to see if we can’t help reduce obviously impaired crashes over the holiday weekend,” Ford said.
Jon Saia is an attorney who specializes in DUI cases.
“I think it’s more of a scare tactic,” Saia said. “You know, trying to frighten individuals that you know you’re going to have a needle stuck in you that you could be held down. It’s kind of a scary sequence of events.”
Saia says that while forced blood test are legal, he worries about civil rights issues.
“There’s a case in Nevada where an individual actually died while he was being held down for the police to draw blood,” Saia said. “And at least in Nevada, the court found there was no liability on the police for the death of that individual.”
Jeff Gamso is the legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio. He says he has several concerns when it comes to increased enforcements.
“The danger of this is that they target improperly in selecting who they’re going to be going after,” Gamso said. “The secondary point is that you want to be sure the people that you arrest that you actually have probable cause to arrest.”
But overall, Gamso says stricter inforcement can be a good thing.
“Doing it all properly makes it a legal thing to do,” Gamso said. “The question is do they do it all properly, and if they do, then good for them.”