Refuse an alcohol breath test July 4? Expect to give blood
EUGENE, Ore. - If you refuse to take an alcohol breath test this Fourth of July weekend, be prepared to give blood.
Eugene, Springfield and Oregon State police plan a "No Refusal Weekend" over the Independence Day holiday.
Police plan to work in coordination with prosecutors and judges to quickly obtain "blood draw warrants" for drivers who refuse blood alcohol content testing.
With the approval of a judge, anyone suspected of impaired driving who unlawfully refuses to provide a breath sample is subject to blood testing at the scene, a medical facility, or nearest jail facility, police said.
Anyone who refuses to take a breath test faces loss of their license for a year.
Officer Ryan Stone said some drivers would take that route in an attempt to avoid a longer sentence.
"No Refusal" enforcement efforts aim to prevent people from avoiding full accountability, he said.
The goal: prevent drunk driving crashes.
"One thing that's often forgotten about is that the person that caused that DUII crash is a normal person, upstanding citizen - and their life gets turned upside down and destroyed in an instant from their one bad choice," Stone said. "We want to make sure we're doing everything we can to prevent the victims, people keep getting hurt and killed and also from somebody turning their whole life inside out and throwing everything away."
The plan got mixed reviews on the streets of Eugene and on Facebook.
"If you're doing something wrong, you should be penalized for it," said Toby Harris of Eugene. "But if you're not doing anything wrong, then it's an infringement."
"That's intense," said Rebekah Albert. "I mean it's definitely invasive, more so than just like breathing, you know, like giving a breathalyzer."
So what does the ACLU have to say?
Dave Fidanque, executive director, said the civil liberties group supports what police plan to do.
"Boing that one step further and getting a warrant for a blood draw if they have probable cause and approval of the judge, that's the right way to go about it in our view," he said. "This has long been a practice police have been permitted to do, but have rarely done in the past - quite frankly I think it's a good thing that police will be using more warrants."