Winnebago County to Enforce New DUI Program

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Law enforcement gets tough on drunk drivers ahead of a busy holiday weekend.  A new program will force offenders to get a blood test, regardless if they consent to it.

South Beloit Police Chief Dean Stiegmeier will work with Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato to enforce the No Refusal weekend in Winnebago County.  It’ll force suspected impaired drivers to submit to sobriety tests over the holiday weekend.

“State’s Attorney personnel will be available at the jail to seek a search warrant of a person’s blood in order to determine whether to determine or not they’re under the influence,” said Bruscato.

A nurse will draw their blood and if the driver doesn’t comply with the nurse, obstruction charges could be issued.

But, local DUI attorney Albert Altamore calls the program intrusive.

“How far do we push the constitution, until the people feel that they no longer have any rights,” questioned Altamore.

Bruscato says it’s well within legal parameters.

“Under Illinois law, when you accept a driver’s license, you have given implied consent that upon a proper request by a law enforcement agency that you will supply your breath, blood or urine,” said Bruscato.

Altamore doesn’t think it’ll deter drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel, saying drivers will sober up while waiting on the warrant.

“You take him down to the police station, you get the search warrant, finally you get the search warrant, the blood test come back 0.7,” said Altamore.  “Now, how is that going to help the prosecution of that case?”

Bruscato admits they’ll have to work to get a warrant in a timely and legal manner with probable cause, but believes “No Refusal” could save lives.

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