Court rules blood draw law unconstitutional

Gavel - KXAN File

AUSTIN (KXAN) – A law that allows Texas police officers to draw the blood of suspected drunk drivers without a warrant has been ruled unconstitutional by Court of Criminal Appeals.

The law allowed officers to draw blood or breath tests from DWI suspects against their consent and for that to be used as evidence against them; something the court says violates the Fourth Amendment.

“We hold that a nonconsensual search of a DWI suspect’s blood conducted pursuant to the mandatory-blood-draw and implied-consent provisions in the Transportation Code, when undertaken in the absence of a warrant or any applicable exception to the warrant requirement, violates the Fourth Amendment,” the court said in its ruling.

The ruling could prevent some cities from holding “No Refusal Weekends,” unless they have a judge ready to issue a warrant. Austin and Travis County have judges on hand or on call to issue warrants for blood draws.

Austin’s most recent “No Refusal Weekend” coincided with Halloween and the United States Grand Prix Formula 1 race. 17 people were arrested for driving while intoxicated. Only one person consented to the test.

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