Program Type: Enforcement
Program Location: Texas
Lead Agency: Montgomery County District Attorney
Partners: Texas Department of Transportation
The Issue: General Drunk Driving
Program Target Population Underage Offenders
Hardcore Offenders

Program Description:

During periods of time when there is an expected increase in the amount of heavy drinking (holidays, sporting events, etc), the program brings paralegals, prosecutors, nurses and judges into centralized facilities to process impaired drivers. The program is able to pay overtime for all involved except for the judges who are unable to accept the extra pay.

After law enforcement officers arrest a DUI suspect, they provide the suspect an opportunity to give a breath sample. If the suspect refuses, the prosecutor on site will review the case and could present a warrant to the judge on site. If the judge grants the warrant, that would provide the nurse on site the authority to draw a blood sample.

Program Effectiveness:

Because the program assists in the obtaining of scientific evidence against DUI suspects, it is more likely that these suspects will be convicted and given appropriate consequences by the court. The county’s refusal rate has decreased to 25% from 45%. The BAC levels of those who provide samples via the warrant have been proven to be higher than those who submit to the test without a warrant (.19 versus .13).   The county’s rate of innocent victims being killed by drunk drivers has been reduced by about 70%.  Other counties implementing the program report similar results.

Program Cost Effectiveness:

By obtaining solid evidence, prosecutors are more likely to get a conviction which means that the offender will pay associated fines that assist in the costs. Also, police officers get back on the street faster because all the other personnel are there to make sure the warrant process is expedient.

Sources of Funding:

  • TxDOT grant
  • County funds

Factors to Consider When Replicating the Program:

  • Hesitance from police or prosecutors to try a new approach
  • Judges may refuse to volunteer for the program
  • Search warrants for DUI are banned in some states

For more information on this program, please contact:
Warren Diepraam