The Fourth of July's "no refusal" period is over in Tarrant County, and the district attorney's office has begun posting online the names of those charged.
Online Fort Worth police reports indicate there were 18 DWI arrests in the 36-hour period. Judges were on standby to issue search warrants to take the blood of drivers suspected of intoxicated driving who refused to take a breath test.
Assistant District Attorney Richard Alpert said the most important statistic from the program is the number zero -- the number of fatal crashes.
The latest news from around North Texas.
"The big thing is, nobody died," he said Thursday. "Everybody lived through the celebration of our country's birthday, and that's the most important part of this."
The county has had only one fatality in the six-year history of the program. After years of press conferences and aggressive enforcement, officials are starting to reach the nonhabitual drinkers and offenders, Alpert said.
"The people who are not getting the message are the ones who've really dulled their senses with too much alcohol who apparently don't mind being in the system," he said.
Alpert said the judicial system will work to get those repeat offenders off the streets by dishing out tougher sentences. But the threat of having blood drawn and your name posted online is working to reduce the number of first-time offenders and nonhabitual drinkers caught on holiday weekends.
Of the first 17 cases filed from the July 4 no-refusal period, 11 of those charged had high blood alcohol levels, Alpert said.
The names of those charged will be placed on the district attorney's website as police departments process the arrests and paperwork, another deterrent that Alpert said is doing its job.
"I absolutely believe that for every person who ignored our warnings and was arrested, there was a couple, if nothing else, that decided their good name was more important than that third or fourth drink," Alpert said.