DWI blood tests

Blood Vial Recall Could Affect Thousands of DWI Cases

By Peek & Toland on September 23, 2019

A company that manufactures blood vials has recalled the vials after finding an error that could change the results of blood alcohol analysis. It is unclear how many cases are affected, as the manufacturer stated that only 300 of the lot of 240,000 vials were manufactured erroneously, and already has recovered 199 of defective vials. However, the vials in question did not contain a preservative to prevent the blood from clotting, which can result in changes to the nature of the blood alcohol over time.

The recall is likely to jeopardize thousands of drunk driving cases across the nation, including at least 7,800 Harris County cases that could have utilized the vials. The Harris County District Attorney’s office has announced that it will begin reviewing thousands of cases for evidence of clotting. If cases used the defective vials, the test results only would be correct if the tests occurred within two days, which seldom happens in Harris County. Court also may be forced to reopen drunk driving cases that already were resolved, further adding to the DWI testing backlog.

Blood Vial Recall Could Affect Thousands of DWI Cases

Local law enforcement agencies also are taking steps to remove vials subject to the recall from deputies, replacing them with non-defective vials. Both the Houston Forensic Science Center and the Harris County Institute of Forensic Science distributed kits containing vials subject to the recall.

Both prosecutors and defense attorneys anticipate that many defendants will request a review of their cases to determine if a defective blood vial impacted their cases. As a result, many DWI cases could result in a retrial. The massive amount of cases that could be affected by the blood vial recall will add to the already overcrowded Harris County docket of court cases. If you or a family member is facing any criminal charges, we may be able to help.

As experienced Texas criminal defense attorneys, we have the knowledge needed to help you navigate through often-complex criminal proceedings. Call us today at (512) 474-4445 and schedule an appointment with one of our criminal defense lawyers and learn how we can assist you.

Posted in DWI

Tagged with: , ,

Texas Tests Out New System to Expedite DWI Blood Draw Warrants

By Peek & Toland on October 5, 2017

Radical changes in the way DWI stops are conducted in Texas are being considered under a new system that would expedite DWI blood draw warrants.

A recent report on KXAN revealed a new system to speed up blood draws is in testing across the state.

In April, representatives from Law Enforcement Advanced DWI/DUI Reporting System (LEADRS) gave training to municipal court judges in Liberty Hill and Leander on the technology.

As part of the new online reporting system, field officers will be able to send a DWI blood search warrant directly to a judge.

Texas to expedite DWI blood draw warrants

Texas seeks to expedite DWI blood draw warrants

Sgt. Ryan Doyle with the Leander Police Department said the new system will cut down the time between the stop and the blood draw dramatically. At present it can take as long as six hours to track down a judge who can sign a search warrant for the blood draw.

Electronic System Would Speed Up DWI Blood Draw Warrants

Unlike larger Travis County, Williamson County lacks a magistrate at the jail around the clock. When Doyle arrests a DWI suspect, he has to drive the suspect to the jail. If there’s no judge, he releases the suspect to the jail and drives to a judge’s house or tracks the judge somewhere else to sign the warrant.

KXAN reported the lengthy process must occur before a suspect is taken to a hospital for a blood-alcohol test. A section of Leander is in Travis County meaning a police officer must drive a DWI suspect to the Travis County jail before obtaining a DWI blood warrant.

Under the proposed new online reporting system, an officer in the field could send a DWI blood search warrant directly to a judge, dramatically cutting down the processing time.

The police officer would be able to stay at the scene of the DWI stop and send a blood warrant to the judge electronically. The judge is able to review it, sign it and send it back electronically.

An important U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year, reinforced the need for a warrant before a DWI blood test is taken.

While police say the proposed new system in Texas would expedite the DWI process and ensure more accurate results, it also raises concerns. Under the present system a judge can ask questions to an arresting officer face-to-face. The electronic system would be less personable.

If you have been charged with a DWI or a DUI, it’s important to get experienced legal representation fast. See our resources on DWI here. You can reach us at (512) 474-4445 or on our online contact form.

Posted in DWI

Tagged with:

Texas Appeals Court Rules DWI Blood Sample Taken Without Permission from Boxer is Admissible

By Peek & Toland on July 18, 2017

A Supreme Court ruling in 2016 stipulated a DWI blood sample could only be taken from a defendant when police obtain a warrant.

However, in Texas an appeals court has ruled a blood sample taken by police without a warrant from a boxer from El Paso is admissible at his trial.

Police say Joel Garcia allegedly drove drunk and killed three people in 2014. A report in the El Paso Times noted he is facing three counts of intoxication manslaughter.

Earlier this year, the case came before the Texas Eighth District Court of Appeals which ruled that a blood sample taken from the boxer was under exigent circumstances. The sample could, therefore, be presented as evidence in his trial.

A DWI blood sample

The appeals court decision reversed the original ruling of a district court judge that would have stopped the sample being used in Garcia’s trial.

The boxer was involved in a wreck that killed Joshua Deal, 23, Shannon Nicole Del Rio, 22, and 19-year-old Isiah Deal on Christmas Eve in 2014.

According to police reports, the three were heading east on Vista del Sol Drive. A Camaro traveling south on Joe Battle Boulevard allegedly ran through a red light, hitting them in the driver’s side door, police said. The Pontiac the Deal brothers and Shannon Del Rio were traveling in burst into flames, killing them.

As well as the intoxication manslaughter charges, Garcia is charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance. The additional charge was reported to be a significant factor in the appeals court’s ruling.

Judge Gonzalo Garcia of the 210th District Court, originally threw out the blood sample evidence in July 2015.

When a DWI Blood Sample Can Violate a Defendant’s Rights

Judge Garcia said the DWI blood sample against the boxer taken by El Paso police was inadmissible. He also scolded officers for their conduct in the investigation of the wreck.

Garcia refused to provide a sample of his blood after his arrest, police documents stated. Police instructed staff at the medical center where Garcia was being treated for injuries, to obtain a sample of his blood before they obtained a search warrant. Officers claimed medical staff took the blood sample because the boxer was about to receive medications that could change his blood/chemistry, the arrest affidavit stated.

Judge Garcia agreed with defense counsel that investigators taking Garcia’s blood before they obtained a warrant violated his Fourth Amendment rights.

You have a right to refuse a blood test. As the Supreme Court ruled last year, police should obtain a warrant before carrying out a blood test. However, there are some instances which are ruled exigent circumstances which can include a fatal accident. Find out more about blood tests here on our website.

If you have been charged with a DWI or intoxication manslaughter, it’s important to talk to an experienced Texas criminal defense lawyer. Call us at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Criminal Defense, DWI

Tagged with:

How Can We Help You?

Our team is standing by to help. Call us at (512) 474-4445 or complete this form to send a message about your legal situation.