Motorists in Collin and Dallas Counties, and throughout Texas, will now have fewer protections against having forcible blood draws. A few months ago I blogged about SB 261, a bill that sought to expand the authority of police to obtain a sample of blood from driving while intoxicated suspects. The changes proposed to the law in that bill have become the law in Texas.
The police will now have the authority to take blood samples from DWI suspects when there was an accident that required someone other than the DWI suspect to be taken to a hospital or medical clinic. In addition, it authorizes blood draws for people accused of DWI with child – a state jail felony, and people who are suspected of having two prior DWI convictions or a prior felony DWI conviction.
Bear in mind that this law gives police authority to take the samples without your consent or the approval of a neutral, detached judge through the warrant process. If the police are convinced that their suspect is, in fact, intoxicated, why the legislative push to cut judges out of the process? Why not present the evidence to a judge who can review it? I would anticipate many more blood draw cases. The upshot of all this? There will be many more opportunities for me to challenge the lawfulness of these warrantless, non consensual blood draws in specific cases on behalf of my clients.