Our Opinion: An offer DWI suspects can’t refuse

More Missouri law enforcement officers are making offers drunk drivers can’t refuse.

Thanks to increasing use of digital search warrants, motorists suspected of driving while intoxicated no longer will be able to refuse a blood test.

A search warrant processed and issued electronically by a judge will authorize a blood draw to determine a driver’s blood-alcohol content.

The procedure, recently adopted in Miller County, now is being used by about 15 Missouri counties, including Cole.

“We get our warrants back in 30 minutes or less,” said John Wheeler, chief deputy for the Cole County Sheriff’s Department. “Once we get it back, we take the suspect to the hospital to get a blood draw.”

The procedure for obtaining a search warrant essentially is the same. Technology simply has improved the convenience and speed of the process.

“There is nothing at all illegal about this because it still has due process of the law,” according to Jason Lamb, executive director of the Missouri Office of Prosecution Services in the state attorney general’s office. “It’s simply a policy to seek a search warrant in every DWI that involves the refusal of a suspect to give a sample to be tested.”

The Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys acknowledges in its recent recommendations that “time is of the essence in impaired driving cases.” As the body metabolizes alcohol, evidence of intoxication disappears.

Drunk drivers are maiming and killing innocent people on Missouri roadways. The accidents, trials and tragedies are documented in the News Tribune on a recurring basis.

The advent of digital search warrants and no-refusal DWI policies are valuable tools in the ongoing effort to curb the senseless slaughter caused by drunk drivers.

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