For the year 2010, there were approximately 6000 people that were arrested on suspicion of DWI in Bexar County, Texas. For those that don't know, San Antonio is the largest city within Bexar County.
Due to the high number of arrests, Bexar County has implemented "no refusal" weekends. You may be familiar with the term from Collin County having "no refusal" weekends for big holiday weekends, such as Memorial Day, 4th of July, or Labor Day.
Bexar County has taken it a step further--now if a person is stopped between the hours of 6:30 p.m. Friday and 6:30 a.m. Monday (any weekend) on suspicion of being under the influence, they are given the choice of taking a breathalyzer or submitting to a blood test. If the person refuses, then a warrant will be issued and a judge that is standing by can order the test.
To help conduct the expected high numbers of blood tests that will be administered, San Antonio Police officers will work in a Blood Alcohol Testing van--sort of like a rolling crime lab. The vans are outfitted with a video recorder and a laptop computer. The officers working in the van are trained phlebotomists which enables the officers to draw blood right in the vans.
The van will also allow the officers to take a person's blood and complete their paperwork at the site of the traffic stop, or accident scene.
Is this new approach to DWI investigation something we can expect to see in Collin or Dallas Counties? Right now, it is too early to tell. Much will depend on the success or failure of the Bexar County program, and the ability of the county intent on implementing the new policy to fund such a program.