When you have been arrested for any kind of DWI, you will be requested to consent to a breath or blood test. If you refuse to give a sample, most police officers will apply for a warrant in order to be able to legally get a sample of your blood. If granted, the police can use whatever force is necessary (if at all) to obtain your blood, even if that means officers forcefully holding you down or strapping you to a gurney.
When you hire The Wilder Law Firm, you will be putting more than 25 years of experience in dealing with search warrants for blood to work for you. We have defended thousands of DWI cases, many of which had officers obtaining search warrants for blood. As a criminal defense team, we know what to look for in fighting a blood search warrant to try and prevent the results of the blood test from being admissible. We have the experience, knowledge, and skill that you need during this difficult time. Call us at 214-741-4000 and get the help you need today.
What is a DWI Blood Search Warrant?
A DWI blood search warrant is a legal document that authorizes the police to obtain a sample of your blood so it can be tested for its alcohol concentration. The warrant commands the officer to take custody of the suspect and transport the suspect to a physician ,registered nurse, qualified technician, phlebotomist or medical laboratory technician skilled in the taking of blood from the human body where, in the presence of a law enforcement officer, they will take samples of the blood from the person listed in the warrant.
Although you have the right to refuse a breath or blood test request, you cannot refuse or prevent the police from executing the warrant to have your blood drawn. Law enforcement officers are authorized to use all reasonable force necessary to assist in obtaining the sample from the suspect. If you do resist, you can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor of Resisting a Search and the “all reasonable force” aspect of the warrant would include strapping you down to a chair/bed, or with a group of officers forcefully holding you down. I have even had officers tase clients in order to get them to comply.
How We Challenge Blood Search Warrants
In order to obtain a DWI blood search warrant, the officer must swear in a probable cause affidavit (sometimes called Blood Warrant Affidavit) to all the facts and circumstances in support of their request. In filling out this affidavit, the officer is going to describe the basis for their contact with you. If you were driving, they will describe how you drove and the legal basis for the stop. They will include descriptions of your eyes, speech, balance, walk, attitude, and any other odd behavior. They will list out all the clues they saw on the sobriety tests given and will end the affidavit with their opinion that you are trying to hide evidence of your intoxication.
Knowing what all goes into obtaining a warrant, here are some of the issues we investigate to attack the validity of the warrant, and thus the admissibility of the blood test results:
- Does the affidavit accurately reflect what happened?
- Was there a legal stop?
- Was the Magistrate qualified to grant the warrant?
Does the Affidavit Accurately Reflect What Happened
Many people assume that an officer would never oversell what happened in a sworn affidavit for a blood search warrant. Unfortunately, this is not true. Every word and description has to be reviewed in an affidavit. Many affidavits have pre-printed verbiage in them, and that pre-printed verbiage may not accurately reflect, or might even contradict, what happened. Just because something is pre-printed does not mean an officer can swear under oath that that actually happened.
Additionally, each and every statement sworn to describing the person’s conduct must be evaluated for accuracy. This is done by comparing the affidavit to the police report to make sure they are consistent, comparing the affidavit to any sworn testimony given at the ALR driver’s license hearing, and by comparing the affidavit to the person’s conduct on video. I am looking for any and all statements sworn that are contradicted by the actual evidence. I have had blood results held to be inadmissible because of faulty warrants and have had an officer appointed a public defender in the middle of a jury trial due to the amount of inaccurate sworn statements made in the affidavit.
Was the Stop Legal
Just because an officer swears to the legality of the stop does not mean the stop was legally made. Many people assume the officers would not pull someone over if they did not have a legal basis for it, but have you ever received a ticket for a violation you know you did not commit?
Here is an example. An officer pulls someone over for a license plate light being out. The officer swears in the affidavit the light was out and that was the legal basis for the investigation and all other information contained in the affidavit. The evidence shows that the license plate light was on and the officer was “mistaken.” In reviewing the affidavit, if we take out the legality of the stop from the affidavit, no Magistrate would ever grant the warrant. So we always have to investigate the legality of the stop and how that is sworn to in the affidavit.
Was the Magistrate Qualified
When an officer requests a Magistrate to grant a DWI blood search warrant, two events must have taken place in order for the Magistrate to have the legal authority to grant a warrant:
- The person must be under arrest; and
- They refused the request for a breath or blood test.
In the vast majority of DWI cases when a warrant is requested, the person has been placed under arrest and refused the chemical test. But what happens when there is an accident and the suspected drunk driver is taken to the hospital? In trying to save time, officers have gone to get a search warrant while the person is being transported to the hospital. The officer may know that they are going to place the person under arrest but have not yet formally done so, and they most likely do not realize that a Magistrate’s authority to legally grant the warrant has requirements under the law.
Many of the affidavits have pre-printed information on them that will state the person is under arrest and has refused and officers have testified before they cannot change pre-printed language. That does not change the requirements, and will also have the officer swearing to facts under oath to a Judge, that did not happen.
Just because a warrant was obtained for your blood does not mean the results of your blood test will be admissible. This is why it is imperative you hire a lawyer who knows how to fight blood warrants and who will fight for you.
Protecting Your Freedom is Our #1 Priority
When facing a DWI with blood test results, you need The Wilder Law Firm fighting for you. Your alcohol concentration only tells part of the story and it does not mean you will be convicted of the DWI. We will challenge the admissibility and validity of your blood test results and will use our knowledge and skill to most effectively defend you. Contact us at 214-741-4000 and let us fight for you.