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Article updated: 12/15/2013 7:22 AM

McMahon vows 'No Refusal' events will continue

McMahon to keep DUI patrols, even if they result in no arrests

Despite the most recent “No Refusal” event in Kane County netting just two DUI busts, State's Attorney Joe McMahon said his office will continue to organize these law enforcement efforts even if they render zero arrests.

Despite the most recent "No Refusal" event in Kane County netting just two DUI busts, State's Attorney Joe McMahon said his office will continue to organize these law enforcement efforts even if they render zero arrests.

 
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Despite the most recent "No Refusal" event in Kane County netting just two DUI busts, State's Attorney Joe McMahon said his office will continue to organize these law enforcement efforts even if they render zero arrests.

McMahon says driving under the influence is a serious crime with huge costs to society, and driving impaired is less socially acceptable now than it was in the past.

"It would be naive for me to think that the only two impaired drivers that night were caught and arrested. Will we stop if we get to zero? No. I think we keep up the pressure," he said. "I do think, culturally, we are shifting to the point where it is less socially acceptable to drink and drive than it was 20, 30 years ago."

Fourteen different law enforcement agencies participated in Kane's most recent "No Refusal" event, held the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The two DUI arrests made were down from the 14 made during the "No Refusal" Nov. 21, 2012, also held the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

"This is one tool that we can use to try and prevent the incidents of impaired driving on the roads," he said.

In a "No Refusal" event, prosecutors fan out to local police departments and work to quickly obtain search warrants for drivers arrested on charges of DUI who refuse a breath or chemical test. A phlebotomist is on call to obtain a blood sample after a search warrant is secured.

If an arrestee still refuses, felony obstruction of justice charges can be filed.

McMahon said he personally believes authorities should be able to obtain a blood draw in every DUI arrest, but he would leave that issue for lawmakers in the General Assembly to decide.

In Kane County, DUI arrests have been on the decline.

According to court records, 1,245 DUI cases have been recorded so far this year, which is on pace for 1,321 for the year. If that number holds, it would represent a decrease of nearly 17 percent from the 1,585 DUI arrests made in 2012 in Kane.

In 2011, 1,720 DUI arrests were made in Kane County, according to court records.

McMahon, in his monthly media briefing last week, said the decline is additional evidence that driving while impaired is not acceptable.

He said a first-time DUI arrest can easily lead to $10,000 in legal bills, court fees and lost wages.

"That is a significant cost, especially in this economy," McMahon said, "for something that is completely avoidable."

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