DWI Blood Draws: Tarrant County Victory!

Thanks to all the readers who emailed me this story. I haven’t had much time to blog, but this is an important development.

Here are the details. A Tarrant County judge threw out blood drawn by the Dalworthington Police in a 2005 DWI case. Too cheap or impatient to use real medical personel, the Dalworthinton Police decided that they should remove blood from DWI suspects.

A judge threw out the blood evidence in a pre trial hearing. Appeals are certain.
Finally, a victory over the DWI vampire horde.

Why did the judge rule against the government’s forced blood warrant?

Because they violate the Texas Constitution? No.
Because they violate section 724.013 of the Transportation Code? Nope.

Instead, because police drawn blood violates section 724.107 of the Transportation Code.

§ 724.017. BLOOD SPECIMEN. (a) Only a physician, qualified technician, chemist, registered professional nurse, or licensed vocational nurse may take a blood specimen at the request or order of a peace officer under this chapter. The blood specimen must be taken in a sanitary place.

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 all nurse driving the SWAT tank.

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6 responses to “DWI Blood Draws: Tarrant County Victory!”

  1. Don Foard says:

    I have been wondering about this. I think I saw on the prosecutors blog that some of them were going to actually get cops certified to draw blood. A phlebotomist course is pretty short and easy. What I’m wondering is this will fulfill the “qualified technician” requirement in 724.017? I’m guessing that nobody knows until a court rules on it. I’m just waiting for a cop to rip a vein and severely injure someone and see how that plays out in court. Even with a nurse or other qualified person draws the blood, against someones will, it would seem to me to be very difficult without the person being sedated.

  2. Michael Pack says:

    I have seen writings by police and D.A.’s that without breath or blood tests they cannot prove DUI in many if not most cases.Most have committed very minor mistakes while driving and do not appear dangerous to others on the road.In other words,they have no idea if a crime has been committed.This bothers me .How is this different than giving drug tests to people for jaywalking?I’ve been hit twice.The first was a older women,minor damage and she paid for repairs.The cop didn’t issue a ticket.The other pushed me into another stopped car,He got a ticket for unsure safe distance.100 dollar fine,yet if either would have had a beer or two they could have faced stiff fines and jail time.I think our laws are out of touch with reality.

  3. Don Foard says:

    Michael, you are right to be bothered. They have video. The average BAC for a drunk driver involved in an accident is about .25. If they can’t get a conviction without breath or blood at .25 they need to think about another line of work. But they tie up police time and labor trying to hang the .08 driver, who is about as dangerous as someone talking on a cell phone. And right, it’s probably not much different than giving drug test to a jaywalker. I understand the MADD hysteria, they are just out of control, but the prosecutors are causing me to wonder WTF?

  4. Edintally says:

    “the request or order of a peace officer”
    What is a peace officer? That statute is clearly out of date and so non-binding.

    Congrats Tarrant Co.

  5. Anonymous says:

    What case holds that a jail is not a sanitary place? I found it,then lost it in all this reasonable suspicion litigation?

  6. Anonymous says:

    What case holds that a jail is not a sanitary place? I found it,then lost it in all this reasonable suspicion litigation?

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