Texas Judge Rules on Police Blood Draws in DWI Cases

Even as Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo prepares to ‘train’ his officers to forcibly take blood from Travis County DWI suspects, a judge in Tarrant County has ruled that prosecutors may not use blood results from forcible blood draws done by improperly trained cops.

And, as of now, that appears to be all police officers. 

In my previous post, I predicted that Acevedo’s attempts to ‘train’ his police officers to take blood from DWI suspects that refuse a breath test would run into some legal problems: primarily that they wouldn’t meet the legal standards laid out in Texas Transportation Code Section 724.017 and would therefore be subject to a motion to suppress the test results.

As Robert Guest points out:

These cops had some EMT training. However, the law states that EMTs aren't qualified.

Police should not be drawing blood.

First, they have a vested interest in convicting the defendant, not attending to medical needs.

Second, if the cop actually kills or injures someone they have near complete immunity.

Finally, State law includes breath, blood, and urine for evidence of intoxication. What if the police start getting breath/urine warrants?

Ok. So the last one is not likely (yet). However, we don't want police playing nurse anymore than we want nurses driving the SWAT tank.

In the comments to the local Austin story about “No Refusal Weekends” many local citizens complained that the police would open themselves to civil liability if Acevedo’s plan was implemented. Actually, I think Guest is right: it would be difficult to mount a successful civil lawsuit.

But while I love the nurses & SWAT tanks line, I’m not as confident as he is that forced urine tests are so impossible. Painful? Orwellian? Perhaps.

But then again, they could be coming to a city near you

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Gabby - August 28, 2008 1:30 AM

Sounds interesting, what I feel is instead of police taking blood for the test, they should hire some medical associate for the purpose. They can be found easily, you know the medical students can do this quite easily & they can be on payroll by Police Department.

Eric - October 30, 2008 9:57 PM

This is BS. No one has the right to draw blood without my written consent. Period. What is going to happen if I refuse the breath and then refuse the blood too? Are they going to tie me down and force me? If I try to defend myself will they charge me with resisting? This is exactly what our 4 fathers warned us about...too much government.

Matt Garrison - November 14, 2008 3:04 PM

Police have no business drawing blood for any reason. What kind of totalitarian bullshit is that.

DWI Torrance - November 18, 2008 10:40 AM

In California the law allows for a forced bllod draw, the practice is abused by the police often. Many DUI suspects are injured during the process.

Blood Warrant Hater - October 1, 2010 12:43 PM

In response to Eric: I know it's an old post, but what you described re: being tied down...is exactly what they do in Dallas County, anyway. Come sit in on a couple DWI trials here some time. If the police officers don't obtain a blood sample by warrant, the prosecutors say this: "Just because the police did not strap down the defendant and forcibly take his blood..." and defend on the basis of "who would do such an egregious thing?" and if they do get the forced sample by warrant, the tout is propriety and necessity, and defend the same in the very next case! The whole thing has gotten out of control! Who knew that the greatest underminers of the rights and liberties provided by the Constitution & Bill of Rights, would come from within, indeed from MADD! In any case, I would like to see someone challenge the blood warrant via First Amendment religious grounds...we need a Jehoviah's Witness to get a DWI, then SCOTUS here we come!!

Lawyers for Suspended License Austin - October 8, 2014 1:29 AM

Are they going to tie me down and force me? If I try to defend myself will they charge me with resisting?

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