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updated: 9/1/2011 2:53 PM

Blood tests for DuPage drivers who refuse Breathalyzer

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Suspected drunken drivers who refuse to blow into a Breathalyzer this Labor Day weekend can't hide the amount of alcohol in their system from DuPage County law enforcement officers.

That's because police have a backup plan. And it involves blood.

Drivers arrested in the county on suspicion of DUI will be taken to the sheriff's office if they refuse to take a Breathalyzer test, officials said.

Awaiting them will be all the people, paperwork and materials necessary to file and obtain a search warrant that makes it legal to draw the suspected offender's blood and test its alcohol concentration.

Obtaining a warrant usually takes more time than the body needs to metabolize alcohol, but the offices of the DuPage County state's attorney and sheriff plan to speed the process over the holiday during their first No Refusal Weekend, State's Attorney Robert Berlin said.

An assistant state's attorney will be on duty from Friday through Sunday to communicate with police and file the paperwork necessary to seek a search warrant.

"It won't take that long because we're going to have a judge on duty who will be able to review search warrants immediately," Berlin said.

Once the judge signs each warrant, a phlebotomist on duty will draw the driver's blood so it can be tested.

Officials aren't releasing the hours the No Refusal Weekend crew will be available to draw and test blood. But Berlin said almost all police departments in DuPage County will be participating by notifying the assistant state's attorney when a driver refuses a Breathalyzer.

Many DuPage departments will be conducting their own enhanced enforcement over the holiday weekend using grant funding from the federal government through the Illinois Department of Transportation.

While the No Refusal Weekend is a separate campaign, it serves the same goal of traffic safety, Berlin said.

"We want the public to know that they need to be responsible," Berlin said. "We want people to be able to celebrate Labor Day weekend and have a good time over the weekend, but we want to remind people not to drink and drive."