If you plan on celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this weekend, you might want to think twice about driving if you’ve had a few beers.
The Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office has announced that they will once again be conducting a “no-refusal system” for suspected drunk drivers this holiday weekend.
Kane County is no stranger to the no-refusal system, as law enforcement officials conducted a similar operation over Thanksgiving last year. Authorities did not specify which municipalities would take part in the operation.
The no refusal system is basically an expedited DUI procedure that allows officers to have direct contact with a judge that can issue a warrant at any hour of the day. This ensures that suspected drunk drivers are required to submit to a blood or breath test. Officers like this approach because most suspects consent to the test when they are told that a judge is standing by to issue a warrant, which in turn saves the officer time.
Joe McMahon, the State’s Attorney for Kane County, said he hopes the announcement will encourage citizens to make wise decisions this weekend. He also said the program shows that the county is serious about cracking down on drunk driving.
“This office has a responsibility to prosecute DUI offenders, and to educate the public not to drive when they drink,” said McMahon “As has been our practice, I will not say which municipalities will participate. I only will announce when we will have the no-refusal operation.”
This weekend will mark the 12th time that Kane County has implemented the no refusal system. 105 drivers have been charged with DUI over the previous 11 operations.
The Kane County State’s Attorney’s felt that St. Patrick’s Day weekend was a good time to renew the program. The county conducted the program on the same holiday weekend in 2012, and charged 22 people with driving under the influence.
Brett Appelman comments
Normally, a driver who is arrested for a DUI can refuse to take any and all sobriety tests – the “Field Sobriety Tests” which include standing on one leg, walking a straight line, and a vision test, as well as the two different breathalyzer tests, the PBT at the car and the official breathalyzer at the police station.
Illinois law allows a driver to refuse these tests with no criminal repercussions. The only real consequence of refusing is that your driver’s license will be suspended for a longer period of time than if you had done the tests.
We normally counsel our clients to refuse all tests. It is far better to have your license suspended for a longer period than to give the prosecutor direct evidence that you were driving under the influence of alcohol.
These no-refusal weekends force drivers to consent to the tests, or wait to see if the judge on call will grant a warrant to take their blood. A driver can still refuse to do the breathalyzer test, but the warrant will allow the police to forcefully take blood from the driver. This can result in the license consequences for refusing the tests, along with the police obtaining the DUI evidence anyway.
Related source: Huntley Patch