Don’t Forget! St. Louis is a “No Refusal Zone”
Since 2013, the city of St. Louis has been a “No Refusal Zone.” With one of the biggest “party weekends” of the summer on our doorstep, drunk drivers should be reminded, and put on notice.
What is a No Refusal Zone? That means if you are suspected of driving under the influence and refuse to take a breath test, the police will seek a search warrant that allows your blood to be drawn.
Circuit Attorney Jennifer M. Joyce has been a staunch advocate of the No Refusal Zone approach and says, “Too many drunken drivers have learned to game the legal system by refusing to cooperate with field sobriety tests. This proven approach to holding drunken drivers accountable is all about saving lives. The No Refusal Zone sends a strong message to law breakers: Don’t drink and drive.”
The No Refusal Zone approach has been successfully implemented in counties throughout Missouri as well as in cities across the nation. If a suspected drunken driver refuses to take a breath test, the No Refusal Zone approach allows a police officer to immediately seek a search warrant for a blood draw – day or night.
In the City of St. Louis, prosecutors and judges are on call 24-hours a day to ensure search warrant applications are timely and legally processed. The results of a chemical test, like a breath test or blood draw, are one of the most important pieces of physical evidence in a DWI arrest.
Once a search warrant is secured, the blood draw will be administered by a medical professional at an area hospital.
Implied Consent Law / Refusing a BAC
Some may question whether this No Refusal Zone strategy violates an individual’s constitutional rights. The answer is no. If an individual refuses to submit to a field sobriety and breath test, a police officer must secure a search warrant based upon probable cause. The search warrant is signed by a judge only after he or she has reviewed the evidence to ensure each case is handled in accordance with all applicable laws. Every person who operates a motor vehicle on the roadways in the State of Missouri (and every other state) has already provided his or her consent to submit to chemical testing in the event he or she is arrested for impaired driving. Under Missouri State Statute, this is called “implied consent.”
Saving precious lives by getting drunken drivers off the road is an important public safety objective. Drunken drivers remain on notice that they will not be able to escape a blood alcohol test simply by refusing to cooperate. It is our hope that the No Refusal Zone will save lives by discouraging drivers who have been drinking from getting behind the wheel of a vehicle in the first place.