Tennessee Police Start Enforcing “No Refusal” Law

Police began implementing a new impaired driving law over the holiday weekend. If a person is arrested for driving under the influence, the “No Refusal” law now permits police to obtain a search warrant for a blood sample upon showing probable cause.

It is important to note law enforcement officers are still required to follow proper procedures when pulling over and arresting a driver suspected of impaired driving. If a driver is suspected of driving under the influence troopers may ask the driver to perform standard field sobriety tests (SFSTs). A driver has the right to refuse these tests, and it is often in the driver’s best interest to do so.

If a driver is arrested for DUI, a trooper may ask him or her to take a blood test to determine if alcohol or drugs are in the driver’s system. Troopers must obtain the driver’s consent to administer the blood test. If the driver refuses, law enforcement must show that they have probable cause before a judge or magistrate will approve the search warrant for a blood sample.

If the search warrant is approved, the blood test must be administered by a qualified medical professional. Some counties are partnering with emergency medical responders who will receive prepackaged test kits from law enforcement. In other areas, suspects may need to be transported to hospitals for blood tests. Once completed, the blood tests are then screened by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations for drugs and alcohol.

Police plan to enforce the new law over several upcoming weekend periods before implementing it full-time.

Source: WBIR, “‘No Refusal’ law implemented over holiday weekend,” Jennifer Meckles, July 10, 2012.

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