Dallas Police Want to Expand 'No Refusal' Blood Draw for Texas DWI

It has been over a year since the Dallas Police Department started its controversial ‘no refusal’ policy for drawing blood in cases of suspected driving while intoxicated in Texas. The initiative has been used on certain holiday weekends, and utilizes warrants that require defendants to provide blood samples if they refuse to submit to breath-tests or refuse to give samples voluntarily. Due to the success of the program, the police now want to expand it to a year-round effort.

The key restriction is availability of judges to sign the court ordered warrants. Currently judges volunteer their time to be available weekends and after-hours. When a driver is stopped for suspicion of drunk driving in Dallas, Texas, the judges can sign a warrant and the suspect is taken to the Dallas County Jail where a blood sample is taken by nurses from Parkland Memorial Hospital. The sample is then tested for blood alcohol content.

To make the blood draw initiative a year round effort, judges would always have to be available to sign warrants. County jail magistrates are on duty around the clock though under current state law they are prohibited from signing ‘evidentiary’ search warrants. The Dallas County prosecutor sees that has a ‘fluke’ in the law and has been working on legislation to change the situation. Wording to clarify the types of magistrates that can sign evidentiary warrants was placed in a bill during the current Texas legislative session, but was later removed.

Texas DWI defense attorneys cite a constitutional liberty against unreasonable search and seizure of evidence, and say the forced blood draw program is being used to negate a defendant

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