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Law enforcement throughout the Roanoke Valley to increase patrols this St. Patrick's Day

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ROANOKE COUNTY (WSLS 10) - Law enforcement throughout the Roanoke Valley will increase patrols and checkpoints during the St. Patrick's Day holiday.

According to a news release, March 17th has become one of the nation's deadliest holidays. That is why the Roanoke County Police Department will have additional resources in place to crack down on drunk drivers and keep the roads safe.

The department plans to utilize the "No Refusal" program from March 11 through March 19. If a driver refuses to submit a breath test after being arrested for driving under the influence, the officer will apply for a search warrant with the Magistrate. If the Magistrate is satisfied with the probable cause, a search warrant will be issued and the Sheriff's Office's medical staff will draw a blood sample to be submitted to the Department of Forensic Science for a toxicology test.

The program gives the Commonwealth's Attorney Office a chemical analysis of the alcohol and/or drugs present in the driver, the most important evidence needed to prosecute a DUI offense if a driver refuses a breathalyzer test.

In 2014, 18 people were killed in drunk driving crashes on St. Patrick's Day.

Roanoke County Police remind community members to "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over."

In addition, drivers are asked to keep an eye out for pedestrians who have had too much to drink.