Norman PD: Warrants Will Be Issued For Refusal Of Breathalyzer During Checkpoint

Thursday, October 29th 2015, 11:11 pm
By: News 9

This Halloween, the city of Norman hopes to frighten drivers out of drinking and getting behind the wheel.

This weekend, judges will be on-call, ready to issue warrants for blood tests for any suspected intoxicated drivers.

The Cleveland County District Attorney's office is teaming up with the Norman Police Department for the campaign. They chose Halloween weekend because there will be lots of kiddos trick-or-treating.

“It's getting redundant and we're getting tired of it. So any efforts we can take to reduce those chances, that's what we are doing,” said Norman Police Chief Keith Humphrey.

Friday, checkpoints will be set up across the city. Drivers who are stopped and appear to be under the influence will be subjected to a breath test and if they say no, the officer can get a warrant over the phone for a blood test.

“I think people really don't realize that when you mix alcohol with a vehicle, a vehicle becomes a weapon and innocent lives are taken daily in our country,” said Chief Humphrey. 

But veteran DUI defense attorney Charles Sifers questions no refusal weekend procedures.

Oklahoma law says if a person refuses to submit to a Breathalyzer test, "none shall be given". But, refusal could mean losing your license.

Sifers believes the statement "none shall be given" refers to all sobriety tests, including blood draws.

“All the tests on the 30th are in direct violation of the statutory right that you have to say no,” said Sifers.

District Attorney Greg Mashburn said Sifers is misinterpreting the law, something many attorneys do.

State lawmakers recently reworded the statue to make it clearer. Mashburn said “no refusal weekends” do follow Oklahoma law.

“They are hiding that evidence and we're going to ask a judge to be able to get the blood that's going to prove that they are under the influence,” said Mashburn.