Tag Archives: DWI

Texas Paramedics Now Conducting Blood Draws in DWI Cases

The state of Texas recently enacted a new law that could have major implications for the DWI arrest process. As of September 1, 2013, if requested by a police officer, paramedics are authorized to collect blood specimens at the scene of an accident or arrest for the purpose of detecting intoxicating substances.

Previously, blood draws were conducted by medical personnel with extensive training at a hospital or jail. Now, a paramedic may collect blood to determine the concentration of alcohol or other intoxicating substances in the blood upon the request of a police officer. According to Bexar County district attorney Susan Reed, this new law is meant to give police “more options and more ability to do warrants and do blood draws in relation to DWI.”

Opponents of this new law fear that Texas is moving in the direction of Arizona. Beginning in 1996, Arizona police officers who are also paramedics were permitted to draw the blood of DUI suspects. Now, police in Arizona attend a three-day training program to learn how to draw blood for the purpose of conducting on-the-scene blood draws. There is some debate over the quality and thoroughness of the training these officers receive. Termed “phlebotocops,” these officers are not required to carry a license to draw blood. Under Arizona law, the qualification of the person who conducts a blood draw is not a factor in determining the admissibility of blood analysis results in a DUI case. As a result, police in Arizona have drawn blood while suspects stand by the side of the road or sit in the back of a patrol car. The Arizona Supreme Court has determined that such blood draws are constitutional and constitute a reasonable search, even though many have been harmed in the process.

Many believe that this new law increases police power and is likely to increase the number of DWI arrests in Texas. If you have been arrested for DWI, an experienced San Antonio DWI attorney at the law firm of Joseph P. Appelt can provide the support you need.

Police Mistakes During DWI Arrest

It’s 2 a.m., you are driving home from a bar, and suddenly you see red and blue lights flashing in your rearview mirror. Panic sets in as you pull over and a cop gets out of the car. Being pulled over on suspicion of DWI can be a very intimidating experience, but the responsibility is on the police to carry out a flawless examination and arrest. Police frequently make mistakes that could get you off the hook.

A police officer is not authorized to stop a vehicle based solely on an anonymous tip, or for no reason at all. Police are also not permitted to stop a vehicle just to check your license and registration. The officer must have evidence that the driver committed a traffic violation.

Police may also fail to ask about medical problems that could cause you to fail field sobriety tests. Physical limitations could affect your performance on field sobriety tests. Many individuals are unable to successfully perform the field sobriety tests even when sober because of medical and physical limitations, which can also affect driving or speech, leading an officer to incorrectly assume a driver is intoxicated.

Environmental factors may also be an issue in performing field sobriety tests. Rain, wind, darkness or uneven surfaces, such as gravel, may impair your ability to perform the field sobriety tests. The officer selects the time and place for performing field sobriety tests and is thus responsible for making sure no distracting conditions exist.

Furthermore, officers are required to provide proper instruction and demonstration for the field sobriety tests. If an officer fails to do this, the results of the test may be thrown out. Police are not permitted to use unauthorized tests to analyze whether you are sober, to convince you to take a Breathalyzer test through trickery or to incorrectly read paperwork to you.

If your rights were violated during a DWI arrest, an experienced San Antonio DWI attorney at the law firm of Joseph P. Appelt can fight for a just result.