'No refusal zone' seeing results in St. Louis - KMOV.com

'No refusal zone' seeing results in St. Louis

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(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) By Joe Raedle (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) By Joe Raedle

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) - St. Louis became a no refusal zone in 2014, meaning a suspected drunk driver who is pulled over cannot refuse to have their blood alcohol level tested. 

2014 saw the number of drivers refusing a breathalyzer test reduced to nearly one out of four after 2013 saw nearly half of suspected drunk drivers refuse breathalyzer tests. 

The law allows for police to seek a search warrant to draw and test a driver's blood if they refuse a breathalyzer test. 

In the city of St. Louis, prosecutors and judges are on call 24-hours a day to ensure search warrants can quickly be issued. 

The suspected drunk driver is then taken to a local hospital for that blood to be drawn by a medical professional. 

Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce says this has helped to streamline court cases, which were tougher to prove before the no refusal zone went into effect. 

"In the last year since we've done this no refusal zone we've seen a dramatic decrease in the number of refusals," says Joyce. "Many people will initially refuse, then when the police tell them we're going to seek a search warrant for your blood they go ahead and they blow anyway." 

Even after the dramatic drop in the number of breathalyzer refusals in St. Louis at 25 percent, the local rate is still higher than the national refusal rate of 22 percent. 

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