Police & troopers to increase DWI checkpoints for holidays

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the busiest day on the roadways.  It's why police and state troopers will increase their presence starting this week.

"We received a grant from the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission.  We will be increasing patrols through the holiday season for suspected impaired drivers, seat belts and speeding," said Baton Rouge Police Department's Cpl. Don Coppola.

BRPD will use thousands of dollars in grant money to fund year-round safety checkpoints, and BRPD increases the number of checkpoints during the holiday season, as does La. State Police.

"No refusal weekends are a huge deterrent to drinking and driving.  People know they're going to get pulled over and they have to submit a toxicology sample.  Hopefully that'll keep people from getting behind the wheel," said State Police's Trp. Jared Sandifer.

Legally, when a person is stopped at a DWI checkpoint, they have the option of refusing a breathalyzer.  If they do that, they're going to jail.  When State Police does their "No Refusal" checkpoints, they're still legally given an option, but troopers have another route they can take.   

"Even if you refuse to blow into the breathalyzer machine, a judge can sign a warrant and we can still take toxicology sample from you," said Sandifer.

If you refuse a breathalyzer, your license is suspended for one year on the first offense.  If you do take the test and fail it, it's a 90-day suspension.  Either way, you are charged with DWI and taken to jail.

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