NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas - No matter what time or day it is, if you get pulled over in Comal County and officers suspect you've been drinking, you cannot refuse. Officers will get a warrant to draw your blood, now that Comal County is a "No Refusal" county all the time.
District Attorney Jennifer Tharp announced the increased enforcement Thursday evening at a DWI "Roll Call" with dozens of officers from different agencies across the county. Comal County had started 2011 with the No Refusal policy in effect every weekend. Before Memorial Day weekend, authorities announced the policy would be in effect 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the summer. Now, it's in effect all the time, even when summer is over.
Tharp says every agency is participating, with the exception of Schertz, which is in three different counties. Once an offender is convicted, he or she will have to pay the cost for the blood test kit and the testing itself.
Statistics show an increasing number of DWIs since 2008 in the county. 252 people have been arrested for their first DWI so far this year, only a one percent increase since this time in 2010. Tharp says she believes the small increase is because people know the consequences of drinking and driving.
San Antonio Police Officer Michael Thornton was one of the officers on hand to support Comal County's efforts. He lost his leg about eight months ago because of a drunk driver who hit him while he was on duty. He should return to the streets as part of the DWI Unit in a matter of weeks. Officer Thornton said he interviewed for the position two days before he was hit.