DUI in Texas: “No-Refusal” Policy Demanded by More Cities and Counties
The Texas Department of Transportation reports that there was at least one fatal car accident every day in 2010, with a total of 2,746 fatal crashes statewide throughout the year. Of these deaths, over one-third involved a person driving under the influence of alcohol.
Authorities Respond to DUI Statistics
Texas officials have begun responding to these statistics and have been expanding the state’s no-refusal policy. According to the Wall Street Journal, cities and counties around the state are asking that anyone suspected of DUI submit to mandatory blood tests when they refuse a breathalyzer.
In the past this was nearly impossible because judges were not readily available to provide warrants to intrusively take blood from someone accused of DWI, and trained medical professionals were not present to draw blood. Now, however, the process has been streamlined by having magistrates standing by to issue search warrants and nurses are staffed at police stations to reduce dissipation of blood alcohol content.
This policy, authorities believe, will help to ensure that evidence of intoxication is available for prosecutors to present to a jury, and that those driving under the influence of alcohol are held accountable.
Opposition and Need to Defend Yourself
This policy has not been greeted with unanimous support. In fact, Fox reports that many legal professionals believe that taking involuntary blood samples is a violation of American civil liberties, and that this intrusive procedure crosses the line for obtaining evidence. Nonetheless, defense attorneys face an uphill battle as Texas courts have upheld the constitutionality of mandatory blood testing.
As a result, those charged with DWI in Texas should take steps to ensure their rights are protected throughout the criminal process. A blood alcohol content above the legal limit does not guarantee a finding of guilt – police officers need to follow detailed procedures during the traffic stop, arrest and field sobriety tests. Speak with an experienced DWI attorney if you are facing drunken driving charges for an in-depth analysis of your case, as well as to learn your rights and what to expect moving forward.