A new initiative by the Boone County Sheriff’s Officer forces DUI suspects to submit to a sobriety test, whether they like it or not.
The program gives an arresting officer quicker access to a warrant to draw blood from the suspect.
What used to only take place during specific weekends or holidays will now be implemented 24/7 in Boone County. The partnership ‘No Refusal’ program between Belvidere Police and the Boone County Sheriff’s Office and the State’s Attorney hopes to crack down on drunk driving.
State’s Attorney Tricia Smith says that thanks to electronic warrants, officers with probable cause will now be able to get on-the-spot court orders from on-call judges for blood samples from drivers who refuse to take a breathalyzer test.
“We’re just using a tool that has always been available, but we’re using technology to it to speed up the process, in order to preserve evidence in these DUI cases,” Smith said.
Boone County Sheriff Dave Ernest says that by streamlining the due process procedures, he hopes there are more guilty pleas and fewer DUI trials.
“Unfortunately, repeat offenders have learned how to play the system,” Sheriff Ernest said. “It’s difficult, sometimes, to get them convicted after the first time.”
One Boone County resident says she’s glad that law enforcement officers will be cracking down on DUI cases. Sandy Stockero’s nephew was killed by a drunk driver when he was just 21.
“If you refuse to take the test…they need to have another avenue to test these people,” Stockero said. “They should be stopped and taken to court.”
Refusal of the court ordered blood alcohol test can lead to more serious charges of contempt.
Sheriff Ernest adds that he hopes this program will make drivers think twice about getting behind the wheel while drunk.
The No Refusal program officially started on Thursday and will continue, 24-hours a day, in Boone County.