Blood tests are not used all that often in most driving while intoxicated (DWI) cases in Texas because breath tests are far more convenient and do not involve the kind of delays that may be common with blood tests. Law enforcement may be required to administer blood tests, however, when a person refuses to submit to breath testing or is unconscious after being involved in a motor vehicle accident.
Blood tests could be used to prove intoxication by alcohol but can also possibly show whether an alleged offender was under the influence of drugs at the time of a criminal offense. Texas law applies strict standards to the situations in which blood tests will be allowed and police officers must be certain to follow every regulation in order to avoid possible issues that may arise when tests are not performed in accordance with state law.
Denton DWI Blood Test Lawyer | Richard C. McConathy
Were you arrested for DWI after allegedly failing a blood test in Denton County? You are going to want to seek the help of an experienced attorney so you can have the best chance possible of fighting the criminal charges and possibly avoiding a very damaging conviction on your criminal record.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy can provide an aggressive defense against your criminal charges and work to possibly get your blood test results thrown out if your rights were violated. We will be able to take a closer look at your case and discuss how we might be able to help when you call (940) 222-8004 or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation.
Texas Law Relating to DWI Blood Tests
Texas Transportation Code § 724.011 establishes that when a person is arrested for an offense arising out of acts alleged to have been committed while the person was operating a motor vehicle in a public place, or a watercraft, while intoxicated, they are deemed to have consented to submit to the taking of one or more specimens of the person’s breath or blood for analysis to determine the alcohol concentration or the presence in the person’s body of a controlled substance, drug, dangerous drug, or other substance. While a specimen cannot be taken if a person refuses to submit to the taking of a specimen designated by a peace officer under Texas Transportation Code § 724.013, Texas Transportation Code § 724.012(b) does provide that a peace officer can require the taking of a specimen of the person’s breath or blood under any of the following circumstances if the officer arrests the person for an offense involving the operation of a motor vehicle or watercraft and the person refuses the officer’s request to submit to the taking of a specimen voluntarily:
- the person was the operator of a motor vehicle or a watercraft involved in an accident that the officer reasonably believes occurred as a result of the offense and, at the time of the arrest, the officer reasonably believes that as a direct result of the accident any individual has died or will die; an individual other than the person has suffered serious bodily injury; or an individual other than the person has suffered bodily injury and been transported to a hospital or other medical facility for medical treatment;
- the offense for which the officer arrests the person is an offense under Texas Penal Code § 49.045, Penal Code; or
- at the time of the arrest, the officer possesses or receives reliable information from a credible source that the person has been previously convicted of or placed on community supervision for an offense under Texas Penal Code § 49.045, 49.07, or 49.08, or an offense under the laws of another state containing elements substantially similar to the elements of an offense under those sections; or on two or more occasions, has been previously convicted of or placed on community supervision for an offense under Texas Penal Code § 49.04, 49.05, 49.06, or 49.065, or an offense under the laws of another state containing elements substantially similar to the elements of an offense under those sections.
Before requesting a person to submit to the taking of a specimen, Texas Transportation Code § 724.015 requires an officer to inform a person orally and in writing that:
- if the person refuses to submit to the taking of the specimen, that refusal may be admissible in a subsequent prosecution;
- if the person refuses to submit to the taking of the specimen, the person’s license to operate a motor vehicle will be automatically suspended, whether or not the person is subsequently prosecuted as a result of the arrest, for not less than 180 days;
- if the person refuses to submit to the taking of a specimen, the officer may apply for a warrant authorizing a specimen to be taken from the person;
- if the person is 21 years of age or older and submits to the taking of a specimen designated by the officer and an analysis of the specimen shows the person had an alcohol concentration of a level specified by Chapter 49 of the Texas Penal Code, the person’s license to operate a motor vehicle will be automatically suspended for not less than 90 days, whether or not the person is subsequently prosecuted as a result of the arrest;
- if the person is younger than 21 years of age and has any detectable amount of alcohol in the person’s system, the person’s license to operate a motor vehicle will be automatically suspended for not less than 60 days even if the person submits to the taking of the specimen, but that if the person submits to the taking of the specimen and an analysis of the specimen shows that the person had an alcohol concentration less than the level specified by Chapter 49 of the Texas Penal Code, the person may be subject to criminal penalties less severe than those provided under that chapter;
- if the officer determines that the person is a resident without a license to operate a motor vehicle in this state, the department will deny to the person the issuance of a license, whether or not the person is subsequently prosecuted as a result of the arrest, under the same conditions and for the same periods that would have applied to a revocation of the person’s driver’s license if the person had held a driver’s license issued by this state; and
- the person has a right to a hearing on the suspension or denial if, not later than the 15th day after the date on which the person receives the notice of suspension or denial or on which the person is considered to have received the notice by mail as provided by law, the department receives, at its headquarters in Austin, a written demand, including a facsimile transmission, or a request in another form prescribed by the department for the hearing.
Texas Transportation Code § 724.017 states that the only individuals authorized to take a blood specimen at the request or order of a peace officer are a physician, a qualified technician, a registered professional nurse, a licensed vocational nurse, or a licensed or certified emergency medical technician-intermediate or emergency medical technician-paramedic authorized to take a blood specimen under Texas Transportation Code § 724.017(c). A blood specimen must be taken in a sanitary place.
Texas Transportation Code § 724.017(c) provides that a licensed or certified emergency medical technician-intermediate or emergency medical technician-paramedic can take a blood specimen only if authorized by the medical director for the entity that employs the technician-intermediate or technician-paramedic. The specimen must be taken according to a protocol developed by the medical director that provides direction to the technician-intermediate or technician-paramedic for the taking of a blood specimen at the request or order of a peace officer.
The phrase medical director is defined as a licensed physician who supervises the provision of emergency medical services by a public or private entity that provides those services and employs one or more licensed or certified emergency medical technician-intermediates or emergency medical technician-paramedics. A protocol developed under Texas Transportation Code § 724.017(c) can address whether an emergency medical technician-intermediate or emergency medical technician-paramedic engaged in the performance of official duties is entitled to refuse to:
- go to the location of a person from whom a peace officer requests or orders the taking of a blood specimen solely for the purpose of taking that blood specimen;
- take a blood specimen if the technician-intermediate or technician-paramedic reasonably believes that complying with the peace officer’s request or order to take the specimen would impair or interfere with the provision of patient care or the performance of other official duties; or
- provide the equipment or supplies necessary to take a blood specimen.
If a licensed or certified emergency medical technician-intermediate or emergency medical technician-paramedic takes a blood specimen at the request or order of a peace officer, a peace officer must observe the taking of the specimen and immediately take possession of the specimen for purposes of establishing a chain of custody. A person whose blood specimen is taken under this chapter in a hospital is not considered to be present in the hospital for medical screening or treatment unless the appropriate hospital personnel determine that medical screening or treatment is required for proper medical care of the person.
DWI Blood Test Defenses in Denton
While blood testing is certainly thought to be one of the most accurate forms of testing available to law enforcement, its admissibility in court can be a far thornier issue for a prosecutor. When blood tests are administered in violation of the rights of an alleged offender, the results could be declared inadmissible and a prosecutor is left with no evidence to support their DWI charges.
Several factors can affect whether the results of a DWI blood test are considered valid by the court. Some of the most common kinds of issues in DWI cases include, but are not limited to:
- Request for second DWI blood sample analysis was not complied with or denied
- Inability to definitively determine if sample is the alleged offender’s
- Unsanitary conditions
- Significant discrepancies between first and requested second DWI blood test
- Blood not drawn by specific medical personnel indicated by statute
- Rubbing alcohol or other inappropriate sanitation agents were used which could contaminate the sample
- Faulty or expired DWI blood testing kit
- Guidelines for the collection, transport, preservation, and storage of DUI blood testing sample were not complied with
- Mislabeling of sample
Lack of reasonable cause for forcible draw or failure of an officer to read a person their rights can also interfere with the admissibility of DWI blood test results in Denton County.
Texas DWI Blood Test Resources
10 Important Blood Tests: What They Show, Why They’re Done, More — Learn more about different kinds of blood tests. Find information about complete blood count (CBC) tests, basic metabolic panel (BMP) tests, complete metabolic panel (CMP) tests, lipid panel tests, and thyroid panel tests. You can also read about enzyme markers, sexually transmitted disease tests, coagulation panel tests, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)-sulfate serum tests, and C-reactive protein (CRP) tests.
Blood Tests | National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Institutes of Health (NIH) — Use this federal government website to learn more about what blood tests are and what to expect from them. You can also read about the risks of blood tests and what the tests will show. Additional topics covered include related health topics and laboratory tests.
Find a Denton DWI Blood Test Attorney | The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy
If you have been charged with DWI in Texas after allegedly failing a blood test, you are going to want to know if your rights were violated. The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy can immediately conduct its own investigation into your DWI arrest and begin formulating the strongest possible defense against the criminal charges.
Our firm has handled scores of DWI cases throughout Denton County and knows how to fight to win. Call (940) 222-8004 or contact us online to have us discuss the specifics of your case during a free consultation.