Prosecutor Critical of DWI Dude's 'No Refusal' Ad
A San Antonio-area prosecutor believes a full-page newspaper ad taken out by two defense lawyers is misleading because it doesn’t communicate that there are consequences if suspects refuse blood-alcohol testing.
Lawyers George Scharmen and Jamie Balagia, aka the DWI Dude, placed the “Choose to Refuse” ad in the San Antonio Express-News. The ad calls “no refusal” blood-alcohol tests a form of government propaganda, the Express-News reports.
But First Assistant District Attorney Cliff Herberg tells the paper that he finds the ad misleading because it doesn’t mention consequences to refusing to be tested. If an officer obtains a search warrant, consent is no longer needed. Also, refusals can lead to license suspensions.
The ad follows a stepped up “no refusal” campaign by prosecutors and police. The local district attorney’s office arranges for nurses to be available to draw blood from suspected drunk drivers who refuse breath tests if an officer receives a warrant, the Express-News reports.
Still, as Scharmen points out, if someone refuses a breath test, authorities have the burden of proof to get a warrant. “The public should not be led to believe that a judge is sitting in a corner with a pen waiting to sign whatever is put in front of them by a cop,” he is quoted saying.