OHP Troop F pushes for permanent no refusal policy

By: Helen Headlee Email
By: Helen Headlee Email

CARTER COUNTY, OK - Normally a driver suspected of driving under the influence can refuse to take a breath or blood test.

But Oklahoma Highway Patrol Troop F doesn't want to take no for an answer anymore.

"Before when we would make an arrest and there would be a refusal, then you had to go off the officer's articulation of what he's seen," said OHP Captain Ronnie Hampton, who reminds us what no refusal is.

"It actually has the officer kick in his authority under the Fourth Amendment to make a probable cause affidavit to a judge, and the judge can then issue a search warrant for the blood that's contained inside the human body so it can be tested," said Hampton.

During a no refusal operation troopers send those affidavits electronically through their laptops to a judge anytime of the day or night. Within minutes troopers can receive the warrant to conduct a test.

Hampton has been meeting with judges and district attorneys about enforcing the operation all year round in Troop F's seven counties.

"They like the idea of doing a no refusal policy and so we're going to be talking about that," said Hampton.

Area residents we spoke with said they support the no refusal policy.

"I'm concerned about innocent kids, more my grandkids or anyone else's kids because there's a lot of people getting hurt out there," said Carter County resident Elizabeth Damron.

"I think it's a really good idea," said Don Anderson, another county resident. "If they're going to drive and drink they need to be caught in any way possible."

For the no refusal policy to go into effect full time Hampton said he has to get legal officials from all seven counties on board.

Hampton hopes the full time operation will go into effect January 1st.

He said the policy aims to make people think twice before getting behind the wheel drunk.

"We're going to get the evidence we need to convict you every time," Hampton said. "And when we have that evidence on second and third offenses there's a more than likely chance they'll be going to prison, not to county jail."


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