A recent news story highlighted perceived problems with Bexar County and how they deal with DWI investigations. One man, a former DWI defendant, recounted what happened to him. On a so call “no refusal” weekend, he was picked up by local law enforcement for DWI. After refusing to take a breathalyzer, he was taken away and forced to give a blood sample.
Fortunately for this man, the system used to test blood alcohol levels in Bexar County is flawed, and the man was eventually released from all charges. The problem is that the county courthouse does not currently have a lab to test blood samples. In fact, all blood samples taken in DWI cases must be sent to San Antonio, which takes up to thirty days to bring back results.
Those results, according to those in the know, are questionable. At least one defense attorney remarked that the people in this county, and the whole state, are being sold a bill of goods about the blood testing system and results that the state uses to put people away for DWIs.
Courts Crack Down on Warrantless Blood Draws
This latest scrutiny is coming along in the wake of recent decision by state and federal courts about blood drawing practices. Consistently, up to the Supreme Court, courts have held that laws permitting police officers to draw blood from a DWI suspect without a warrant are unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court made its ruling in Missouri v. McNeely, 133 S. Ct. 1552 (2013). That case involved a man who was arrested for DWI and whose blood was taken without his consent and later used to convict him of DWI. The state in that case argued that the police were justified in taking the blood sample because otherwise the alcohol would have left his system and then the evidence lost. But the Supreme Court disagreed and held that a police officer must seek out a warrant before taking and using someone’s blood in a DWI case.
Soon after this ruling, Texas and other state court invalidated many of their laws regarding blood draws. Prior to this ruling, the police in Texas could take a blood sample in a number of situations, such as if the DWI suspect had previously been convicted of DWI two or more times Texas law allowed a forcible blood draw. This is no longer the case.
This new trend is important because it helps protect the rights of everyone, and those protections reach beyond DWI investigations. By enforcing these rights, the courts are signaling to law enforcement that those rights granted to us by the U.S. Constitution are not up for negotiation.
Protecting Your Rights Under the Law
At the Wilder DWI Defense Firm we understand what your rights are and how to protect them. If you are accused of DWI in the Dallas area contact us. We will aggressively represent you and your rights at every stage of the DWI case. From your license revocation hearing, to plea negotiations, to trial if needed, our team will ensure that you get the best representation possible.