‘No refusal weekend’ for St. Patrick’s Day

Law enforcement agencies are teaming up around the Rockford area this weekend in an effort to crack down on drunk driving.

Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato was joined by Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea and South Beloit Police Chief Dean Stiegemeier Thursday to announce a “no refusal weekend” for the St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

Any driver suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol refusing to submit to a breathalyzer will be automatically transported to the Winnebago County Jail. Once there, Bruscato’s office will seek a search warrant to collect the suspect’s blood for analysis and evidence. If an individual refuses to submit they can face further obstruction of justice charges.

The departments said they will also increase patrols in an effort to reduce drunk driving over the weekend.

“This is a collaborative effort with area law enforcement agencies,” said O’Shea, adding that people should, “use an Uber, sober driver or stay over if intoxicated.”

Winnebago County participated in a “no refusal weekend” last year for the July 4 holiday. Similar policies in other states have been deemed unconstitutional by the courts as a violation of people’s Fourth Amendment rights.

–Staff report

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