The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is the highest court of appeals in the state of Texas for criminal cases. Texas, unlike other states, has two separate courts of appeal; one for civil claims that go to the Supreme Court, and one for criminal cases that goes to the Court of Criminal Appeals. In mosts states, the courts of appeals deal with both civil and criminal case, but not in Texas.When a DWI case is appealed to the highest court in Texas, it will land at the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
Recently, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted relief to a man who was convicted of DWI and sentenced to six years in jail. That case is another of the many cases that have been overturned because of police officers who forced DWI suspects to give blood samples without their consent.
What Happened in This Case
Several years ago, a man lost control of his car and ran it into a tree. When the police arrived on the scene they began to suspect the man was drunk while driving, and began an investigation for DWI. Due to the fact the man had two prior DWI convictions, the police forcibly took a blood sample from him without his consent. Following the evidence from the blood sample, the evidence of DWI was overwhelming and the man pled guilty to felony DWI and was sentenced to jail for six years.
At the time, Texas law permitted a police officer to take a blood sample from a suspect if he or she had two or more prior DWI convictions. But recent U.S. Supreme Court and Texas Court opinions have declared that law to be unconstitutional. When that happened, the man involved in this case appealed his conviction based on the fact the police illegally took a blood sample without his consent.
The court of appeals took the man’s case, and applied the recently decided cases. Under the new case law, it is against the constitution for a police officer to take a blood sample without a suspect’s consent, and then use its results as evidence in a criminal case. So using this new law, the court overruled the man’s conviction. Soon after that ruling, the Texas Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s ruling. This ruling is just one of many recently overturned DWI convictions based on the fact that it is unconstitutional for the police to conduct a warrantless search of a DWI suspect’s blood.
Understanding and Defending Your Constitutional Rights
This case represents one example of how the U.S. Constitution provides each of us with protections against unreasonable state action. Police officers are bound by the constitution in how they do their jobs, and when they cross the line, that can be used in a case to have it thrown out. It is important to know about these rights, but it is even more important to have an attorney in your case that can defend those rights.
At the Wilder DWI Defense Firm, our practice is dedicated to ensuring that our clients’ DWI charges are defended with every tool available under the law. If you or someone you love is charged with DWI in the Dallas area, contact us. We will go over your case with you, and provide you with the legal counsel and defense you need.