HOUSTON— The Harris County District Attorney’s Office is bracing itself for an inevitable uptick in DWIs during the Labor Day weekend by kicking its ‘No Refusal’ program into high gear ahead of the holiday.
“If you don’t have a plan as to how you are going to get home safely before you leave your house, it’s too late. You are going to get in trouble,” Harris County DA Office Chief of Vehicular Crimes Sean Teare said.
If someone is arrested or stopped for suspected DWI during the no refusal weekend, they will be taken to the Harris County Pct. 1 Constable’s Office or the precinct’s southeast patrol headquarters. There will be on=site prosecutors writing search warrants, magistrates to sign the warrants and nurses to take blood and check the alcohol levels of accused drivers.
The initiative will also focus on underage drinking and clubs that serve alcohol after hours.
“I am personally tired of standing over the bodies of dead babies and other dead people in this county. I’m tired of it! I can tell you right now about two tragic cases in the last few months that involve minors driving and drinking,” Teare said. “Every time my phone rings at 3 in the morning, and I have to go out to one of these cases, I start to think about how I can stop it.
After hour checks will be conducted on certain establishments and anyone selling alcohol after the 2 a.m. cutoff or to minors will be shut down immediately and charges brought against them.
“If you follow the law, you have nothing to worry about from us. All we are asking you to do is check IDs, don’t sell to minors and don’t sell to intoxicated people and close your establishment when the law says you have to,” Teare said.
For 16 consecutive years, Harris County has led the nation in drunk driving deaths. The Texas Department of Transportation reports a staggering 2,941 alcohol-related crashes in the county in 2016. And an estimated 159 of those cases ended in fatalities.
If you plan on drinking, Teare strongly advises you to have “a plan because we have a plan to catch you if you don’t!”