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Law enforcement on the watch for drunk drivers

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Posted: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 12:00 pm | Updated: 5:08 pm, Wed Aug 15, 2012.

By Justin Cox

Killeen Daily Herald

The law enforcement community in Bell County says it has an offer you can't refuse – though you may want to.

It's not a sales pitch, it's a deterrent, said Assistant District Attorney Nelson Barnes, to all those who consider driving home drunk this New Year's holiday.

Barnes is one of the prosecutors in the Bell County Attorneys Office who will likely be prosecuting many of the offenders who think they can get out of a DWI with a simple "no, thank you" when asked to submit a breathalizer test by police on New Year's Eve.

"You consent to doing that when you get your license," Barnes said. "Your license is automatically suspended, pending an administrative hearing. It's not that you have a right to refuse the breath test, you actually get punished for it and it can be used against you in court."

Several judges have agreed to be on call during the rest of the week so that police can obtain a warrant of arrest for individuals who refuse a breath test.

Those arrested will have their blood drawn by a nurse.

Barnes said the entire process will take only a matter of minutes from the moment someone is arrested.

"It's entirely a deterrent," Barnes said. "It's designed to make people think twice before driving home after three or four drinks ? Don't put us in the position of being able to ask for the sample."

Contact Justin Cox at jcox@kdhnews.com or call (254) 501-7568.

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