If you drink and drive this holiday weekend, landing in jail might not be your only worry.
You could also end up on the Tarrant County district attorney's website, for all the world to see that you've been charged with drunken driving.
The new DWI postings will be part of a "no-refusal" weekend aimed at taking drunken drivers off the road. More than 25 law enforcement agencies and the district attorney's office will work together to speed up Breathalyzer and blood tests on suspected drunken drivers.
"We're hoping that this will deter people," Assistant District Attorney Richard Alpert said Thursday. "We don't need more arrests. We don't need more DWIs. We are hoping for another fatality-free New Year's weekend."
Those arrested from 10 tonight through 5 a.m. Monday and officially charged with DWI will get their name posted on the website; no photographs will be used.
The no-refusal program will allow police agencies to rapidly obtain search warrants to draw blood from suspected drunken drivers who refuse voluntary testing. Extra judges and medical personnel will be available to expedite the process.
District Attorney Joe Shannon said he hopes the program will encourage residents to forgo alcohol over the holiday or select a designated driver, rather than have to explain to relatives and friends "what you've been up to and why you didn't get home on time."
Is it legal?
Defense attorneys, however, said the postings could violate the civil liberties of those accused of driving drunk.
"I absolutely condemn driving while intoxicated ... but these people are presumed innocent," attorney Richard Henderson said. "I just don't think that's right."
Attorney Steve Gordon, president of the Tarrant County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, said the postings could violate state ethics rules for prosecutors.
"There are some people [members] who are very upset about it," Gordon said. "Is he going to pull the information on the case when he loses?"
The participating agencies include the police departments of Fort Worth, Arlington, Richland Hills, Benbrook, Westover Hills, Dalworthington Gardens, Burleson, Colleyville, Southlake, Mansfield, Grand Prairie, Bedford, North Richland Hills and Keller, as well as the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Fort Worth officials said a magistrate will be available to approve search warrants and a registered nurse will be on duty to draw blood from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. each day.
Fort Worth police said they will focus on freeways and other major roadways, areas with concentrations of businesses serving or selling alcohol, and areas with a high incidence of alcohol-related wrecks, the city said in a news release.
The no-refusal program has been in use for several years on New Year's Eve and other selected holidays. Tarrant County has had only one fatality -- a July Fourth death -- since the program started, Alpert said.
Last year, 67 people were arrested during New Year's weekend, a sharp drop from the close to 100 drivers in previous years. Only 18 drivers refused to consent to blood tests, officials said at the time.
Tarrant County handles 5,000 to 6,000 drunken-driving cases each year, Alpert said.
Dianna Hunt, 817-390-7084