It is not that often that Louisiana authorities arrest the operator of an 18-wheeler for DWI while driving through city roadways. The Houma police reported recently that they had that distinction when they detained and charged a 35-year-old male with drunk driving and hit and run. The police responded to reports that a rig towing a large box trailer was being recklessly operated on a city street.
When police arrived, they reportedly observed damage to a fire hydrant, stop sign, street sign and a fence on local streets. They detained the operator after allegedly following him to a Walmart parking lot where he parked the truck. The police say that the man showed visible signs of impairment and emanated a strong odor of alcohol.
However, when the authorities tried to administer a breathalyzer test and field sobriety testing the man refused to consent, according to the Houma Police Department. They say that they then obtained a search warrant for his blood and that the test results are pending. Authorities charged the suspect with First Offense DWI, hit and run, and truck weight restrictions. Normally, the police would not be able to obtain a search warrant quickly enough to compel the extraction of blood from a nonconsenting motorist.
One who fails to consent faces an automatic driver's license suspension and other statutory penalties. In some cases, the police will go forward with the drunk driving prosecution depending on the strength of the other evidence. However, in this case the police were evidently able to prepare an affidavit of probable cause and take it to a Louisiana judge located in close enough proximity. A potential risk in that situation is that the test results may come back below the threshold due to the passage of time, thereby making it much more difficult to obtain a conviction.