Mandatory Blood Draw
What you should know about 'no refusal' policies
If you believe that you always have a right to refuse a blood test, think again. Police have a "no refusal" policy on certain weekends in which suspected drunk drivers are subject to a mandatory blood draw if they refuse a breath test. These blood tests, which are conducted in Houston, Harris, Montgomery and surrounding counties in Texas, may be used to determine if the driver's blood alcohol level is over .08 percent. The blood tests also may detect the presence of certain illegal, prescription or over-the-counter drugs.
With grants from the Texas Department of Transportation, counties can initiate "no refusal" programs. Harris and Montgomery counties had a no refusal program in effect nearly every weekend of 2011, according to the Houston Chronicle. Law enforcement can use search warrants to test blood from drivers suspected of exceeding the blood alcohol concentration limit of .08 percent.
While blood testing is generally considered to be the best evidence used by prosecutors in DWI cases, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can challenge the results. Attorney Joseph LaBella can raise questions about how the blood was stored. Was it properly refrigerated, for example?
Questioning a blood test
Other crucial questions an experienced attorney raises about blood draw results include:
- Did the nurse or paramedic who drew your blood follow established procedures?
- Was there any contamination in the blood vile such as the fungus candida albicans, which may raise the alcohol reading?
- How was the blood contaminated?
As of September 1, 2009, police officers are allowed to draw blood without a warrant if:
- The driver refuses to provide a breath sample and a person other than the suspect "has suffered bodily injury and has been transported to a hospital or other medical facility for medical treatment";
- The driver is arrested for DWI with a child passenger;
- The officer credibly believes that the driver can be charged with felony DWI due to two prior offenses or one prior intoxication manslaughter; or
- The officer credibly believes that the driver committed DWI and was previously convicted of intoxication assault or DWI with a child passenger. (This offense would be enhanced to a Class A misdemeanor.)
How a DWI lawyer in Texas can help
With so much at stake, it's important to retain an aggressive lawyer who can protect your legal rights. Contact Joseph Labella & Associates today to arrange a free case review. Call 1-800-395-5951 or reach us by completing the online contact form.