With Christmas celebrations over, Tennessee residents are likely looking forward to ushering in the New Year and participating in New Year’s celebrations. While such celebrations are fun, it important to keep in mind that law enforcement will have heightened drunk driving enforcement during the New Year’s week and weekend.

In fact, the Tennessee Highway Patrol will be conducting a campaign referred to as the “No Refusal” safety enforcement campaign. The campaign will begin New Year’s Eve and end that weekend. During the No Refusal campaign, Tennessee state law permits police to get a search warrant for blood samples, particularly in cases of where a driver is suspected of drunk driving.

The No Refusal enforcement will take place in eight different counties in the state. According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the aim of the campaign is to deter impaired driving and lower the number of fatal crashes due to drunk driving. Law enforcement authorities are expected to set up saturation patrols at strategic locations. These special sobriety patrols or roadblocks will be set up in addition to regular DWI enforcement.

Though the intent of such No Refusal campaigns is potentially to reduce DWI crashes, those drivers who are accused of driving under the influence by law enforcement personnel need to understand that they have rights. Though police serve an important function in society, they can make mistakes and their equipment like the breath testing equipment can be out of calibration and not function as intended, giving wrong or exaggerated values. Furthermore, some other medical conditions can cause a driver to drive erratically and may have nothing to do with driving drunk.

Thus, for anyone facing a DWI charge it may be important to contact a DWI lawyer to ensure that their rights are protected. One’s very freedom may hinge on close examination by a criminal defense attorney into police procedure employed, equipment used and whether the breath test yielded an appropriate value or not.

Source: The Jackson Sun, “Sobriety roadblocks, special patrols for New Year’s Eve,” David Thomas, Dec. 29, 2014