New Program May Expedite Blood Search Warrants During DWI Arrests
If you have been charged with driving while intoxicated, you can refuse to submit to a blood alcohol test. In Texas, police officers can request a blood search warrant that requires a sample of your blood to be drawn and tested for alcohol or other intoxicating substances. Executing the warrant can take hours because the officer often needs to go to the station or court house to obtain it. However, some Texas municipalities are testing a mobile communications program that enables officers to receive an approved blood search warrant in the field. If the program is successful, it may become easier for law enforcement to obtain evidence against DWI suspects.
Blood Search Warrant
Under Texas law, a judge can issue a blood search warrant that allows a medical professional to collect a DWI suspect’s blood sample as possible evidence of intoxication. An officer can request a blood search warrant as long as:
- There is probable cause to believe the suspect committed a DWI offense; and
- A blood sample is needed as evidence in the case.
An officer typically obtains the warrant in person at the court house or electronically at the station. Once the warrant is issued, the suspect may be charged with resisting a search if he or she refuses the blood test. An officer is also authorized to use reasonable force against a combative suspect.
If the officer believes there are aggravating circumstance connected to the DWI arrest, he or she may require a blood sample be taken without a warrant. However, the suspect’s attorney may argue that the sample is inadmissible because the officer did not have a warrant.
The Texas Municipal Police Association created the Law Enforcement Advanced DUI/DWI Reporting System to reduce the time spent during DWI arrests. Since 2004, Texas police officers have used LEADRS to enter arrest information and print out forms while in the field. With the new LEADRS program, an officer is able to obtain a warrant for a blood sample at the scene of a DWI arrest. Officers want to collect suspect blood samples quickly because traces of alcohol in the blood will diminish as the body metabolizes. Using the system, an officer can electronically send a warrant request to a judge, who can reply with a valid warrant. The officer can then call a medical professional to the scene to take the blood sample.
A suspect who is served a blood search warrant at the scene of an arrest may have less time to consider the consequences of submitting to the test. By allowing more officers to request warrants electronically, judges may not scrutinize the requests as thoroughly as when talking to the officer. If you have been charged with DWI, a San Antonio DWI defense attorney at the Law Offices of Sam H. Lock can represent you in your defense case. Call 888-726-5625 for a free consultation.