Perhaps more than any other issue, involuntary blood draws shed light on the balancing act between individual liberties and public safety.
Austin Police Department has been doing “no refusal” weekends for a while now. Other agencies, such as the Travis County Sheriff’s Office, also do involuntary blood draws, but only if certain factors are present (i.e. when a person refuses to do police coordination tests). Depending upon the particular circumstances, a mandatory blood draw is possible in almost any DWI arrest.
Many people question whether it is legal for police to do that. The short answer is, yes, it is legal. The law contains a number of statutory reasons that allow police to take an involuntary blood sample, and they are free to ask for a search warrant in any case. Recent case law from the United States Supreme Court may change how Texas handles mandatory blood draws, but search warrants for blood are here to stay.
The process for obtaining blood search warrants is far from perfect. They are not typically signed by the same judges that preside over the DWI case itself. Officers usually present them to municipal magistrates, which are appointed and not elected. To make it worse, many of the magistrates who work the graveyard shift are not even full-time, appointed magistrates. The result, some would say, is that police get a rubber stamp on these.
Search warrant blood test cases can be won, but not by the inexperienced. If you want to have any chance at all, it is critical that you get a Board Certified criminal lawyer with a history of winning blood test cases. Our record defending blood test cases is especially successful, so you can be sure we know what we’re doing.