DWI Blood Tests are becoming the norm in Travis County and the Texas Hill Country. Austin Police Department and Burnet Police Department, most notably, are stepping up their “no refusal” policies and implementing them on a year round, nightly basis. “No refusal” refers to the government policy to seek a search warrant for a blood draw if individuals refuse to consent to provide samples of their breath or blood voluntarily. It is still in your best interest to refuse all tests, including the standardized field sobriety tests, and refuse to answer questions respectfully. Click here for information on what to do if pulled over after drinking. Remember that police officers must have “probable cause” to obtain a search warrant under the 4th Amendment of our US Constitution. Probable cause is defined as sufficient reason based upon known facts to believe a crime has been committed. Judges and Magistrates give great deference to police officers under this standard. An officer must present some evidence of intoxication beyond the odor of alcohol and admission of drinking to have probable cause for a warrant to be issued authorizing the police to draw your blood. Once the police have procured this search warrant, your blood will be drawn. Refusing or resisting the police’s efforts at this point will only get you into more trouble. Remain respectful at all times. The blood will then be analyzed for a blood alcohol content over .08. Unfortunately, if the sample comes back below the legal limit, you do not get it back. Also, you will be unable to fight the validity of the warrant until after you spend the night in jail and hire an attorney.
Blood Tests are not the “gold” standard that the government portrays. They are no more reliable than a breath test, and in some cases with hospital blood tests, they may be even less reliable. Hospital blood tests should be used for the diagnostic reasons for which they were designed, not for evidentiary purposes. Not every lawyer knows how to attack and defend a DWI case with a blood test over .08. Many lawyers see the printout that contains a number and automatically get discouraged and unwilling to continue to fight the case. If you have a lawyer like this, you need a new one that won’t give up just because there’s a piece of paper with a number on it. You need a lawyer who knows what questions to ask, what documentary information to request regarding the blood test, and what to do with that information once received to help defend your DWI. Also, many blood search warrant cases are successfully won by attacking the warrant itself, or by attacking the legality of the initial traffic stop. The bottom line for you to know is that if you have a DWI case pending with a blood test over a .08, do not give up, do not believe you cannot still fight it. That is precisely when you should fight harder, and demand more.