When you get pulled over for a DWI in Texas, the officer can ask you to submit to a breath or blood test. If you deny consent, the officer can get a blood search warrant if specific criteria are met. A blood search warrant allows a medical professional to collect a suspect’s blood sample and test it for alcohol and other substance without your consent. The government can use the results of the blood sample in your DWI case as evidence of intoxication.
DWI blood warrants are becoming increasingly popular in Texas. Officers rely heavily on blood search warrants when individuals suspected of a DWI refuse breath and blood tests. It is critical to understand when under what circumstances an officer can get a blood search warrant and your rights during the process.
When Can an Officer Get a Blood Search Warrant in Fort Bend?
In Texas, a judge or magistrate can issue a blood search warrant when:
- There is probable cause to believe that the suspect committed a DWI offense, and
- A blood sample is needed as evidence in the case
The warrant request must include a sworn affidavit stating the arresting officer has personal knowledge of the facts within the affidavit, and the facts establish probable cause. Probable cause exists when there is at least a “substantial chance” that evidence of a crime or other contraband will be found at a specified location. Probable cause is a higher standard than the reasonable suspicion needed to initiate a traffic stop.
Under Texas law, it is mandatory for police officers to take a blood specimen under certain circumstances, including when an individual refuses to consent and:
- There was an accident that the officer reasonably believes occurred as a result of the offense, and as a result of the accident, an individual died or suffered serious bodily injury;
- There was a child passenger; or
- The arrestee was previously convicted of a DWI two or more times or has a previous conviction for DWI with a child passenger, intoxication assault, or intoxication manslaughter.
Even under the above circumstances, the officer is required to get a warrant.
Can an Officer Take a Blood Test Without a Warrant in Fort Bend?
A blood test is considered a search subject to the protection of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Texas Courts have held that an officer can only take a warrantless blood sample in situations where there is a valid exception to the U.S. Constitution 4th amendment warrant requirement. These exceptions are very limited.
How Does an Officer Get a Blood Search Warrant in Fort Bend?
The police officer does not need to physically appear in front of a magistrate to request a blood search warrant in Fort Bend. Officers can request warrants electronically or over the phone. This system enables officers to receive an approved blood search warrant at the scene of the arrest.
Can You Refuse to Comply with A Blood Search Warrant in Fort Bend?
Once a police officer has an approved blood search warrant, you should not refuse the blood test. If you refuse, you can be charged with resisting a search in addition to any DWI charges. Resisting arrest is generally a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in county jail and a maximum fine of $4,000. Additionally, officers are authorized to use reasonable force consistent with the safety of all involved to obtain a blood sample.
Fighting a DWI Blood Test
If you were arrested for a DWI and a blood sample was taken, it is critical to reach out to an experienced Fort Bend criminal defense attorney. DWI charges are serious, and convictions result in severe penalties. An attorney can help you understand your rights and outline your options going forward.
Your DWI defense will depend on the unique facts of your case. Potential defenses include:
- The affidavit did not have a sufficient factual basis. The affidavit must include detailed facts that indicate intoxication, and the approval of the warrant must be based on more than a refusal to take a breathalyzer or field sobriety test. If the blood draw is unconstitutional, the results will be suppressed.
- Officer did not get a warrant, and the defendant did not give free and voluntary consent.
- The blood test results are inaccurate. The medical professionals administering the test must follow proper procedures and chain of custody procedures.
Your Sugar Land Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one is facing DWI charges, you should reach out to a qualified Sugar Land criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Adam Capetillo is a Fort Bend County native who will protect your rights and provide a skilled and aggressive defense. Call Capetillo Law Firm today for a free consultation.