In a recent opinion from a Texas court involving a DWI, the defendant’s request for incriminating evidence to be suppressed was denied. The defendant was found guilty of driving while intoxicated and appealed by arguing that the court improperly admitted his blood sample as evidence at trial. The court disagreed, ultimately denying the defendant’s appeal.
The Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, an officer in Texas stopped the defendant after observing his vehicle weaving from one lane to the other. The officer also saw that the defendant’s middle brake light was out and was concerned about the vehicle’s defective equipment. During his testimony, the officer explained that he originally looked for the defendant’s car because a bartender had called the police station saying she was concerned that the defendant might be heavily drinking and driving after having departed her establishment.
After stopping the defendant’s vehicle, the officer noticed the smell of alcohol, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and that the defendant was sleepy and swaying. While the defendant admitted to drinking alcohol, he refused to submit to a blood test. Based on the officer’s statements, however, a judge found that there was probable cause for a search warrant, and decided that the officer was legally allowed to take a sample of the defendant’s blood regardless of whether or not the defendant was willing to give it. The defendant’s blood sample was thus obtained and eight days later, was delivered to the Texas Department of Public Safety. An analysis of the sample showed that the defendant’s blood-alcohol level had been .170 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. He was convicted for driving while intoxicated.
On appeal, the defendant advanced two main arguments: 1) that his blood test results should be suppressed because the warrant only allowed the officer to test his blood, not to analyze his blood sample, and 2) that even if the warrant did allow for his blood to be both sampled and analyzed, the results should be suppressed because the warrant expired between when it was issued and when the analysis was conducted.
The court rejected both arguments. Regarding the first argument, the court said that since the officer had probable cause to take the defendant’s blood sample, that probable cause transferred to analyzing the blood sample as well. The court concluded that there was no second warrant necessary to test the blood once the sample had already been obtained.
Regarding the second argument, the court acknowledged that there is, in fact, a three-day requirement for a search warrant to be utilized after it is issued and that it was true that the blood sample was not tested until eight days after it was taken. However, said the court, the officer took the blood sample immediately, and it did not matter how long it took the lab to analyze the sample – the three-day requirement was met because the officer obtained the sample right after the warrant was issued. Thus, because the court disagreed with both of the defendant’s arguments, his appeal was denied.
Have You Been Charged with Driving Under the Influence in Texas?
If you or a loved one are facing DUI charges in Texas, it is of the utmost importance that you have an experienced defense attorney on your side. At Guest & Gray, we know the law in Texas and will offer our knowledge and experience while fighting your case. For a free and confidential consultation, call us at 972-654-4644. You can also contact us on our website, using our online form.