In an effort to crack down on drunk driving the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Department plans on stepping up their checkpoints this month. According to this report from WPBF the department will be “out for blood”.
As it stands citizens can refuse to take a breath test when asked for a sample by the police. The Sheriff’s Department plans on getting blood samples from those who refuse, however. This unorthodox approach is nothing new, just unusual to be done roadside.
It seems the department plans on using this more as a scare tactic than a regular practice. When an officer explains “If you refuse we can get a warrant to draw blood”, it may shake someone up enough to get them to consent to the original breath test.
The Sheriff claims that if a refusal happens, they will get a warrant and drive to a judge’s home to get the signature. While this seems somewhat plausible, warrants for blood tests are typically only used in serious DUI cases; when, for instance, an accident or death has occurred.
It will be interesting to see how many judges are willing to sign off on a warrant for a suspected DUI at a checkpoint and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Sheriff’s Department disappointed with the outcome should they show up to a judge’s home on the weekend asking for one.
So, if the breath test is refused and the warrant isn’t granted can you still be charged with DUI? Yes, a field sobriety test can get you a DUI charge, although it may be more difficult for the prosecutor to prove their case in court. Also, if you refuse you will face suspension of your driving privileges.