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New Law Would Require Blood Test For Some DWI Offenses

Posted on in Criminal Defense

plano defense lawyerStarting on Sept. 1, 2021, if you are arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) after you were in a car accident that caused someone a serious injury or death, you will be required by law to have your blood drawn. Despite legal scholars raising concerns about government overreach and Fourth Amendment violations, the state governor signed the bill into law in June 2021 without comment. 

Background on HB 558

According to news reports, the bill was introduced in November 2020 after a Denison school teacher was struck by a vehicle and killed, but the driver was never held accountable. The teacher was on a morning walk with her husband when their neighbor hit them with his truck. The teacher died as a result of her injuries and her husband was seriously injured.

While investigating the case, the responding officer smelled alcohol on the driver’s breath and the driver said he had been drinking the night before. The officer thought his observations were enough to administer field sobriety tests, but the driver passed them and then blew a .06 on the breathalyzer test, which is under the legal limit. Because of those factors, the investigating officer did not request a warrant for a blood draw. Later on, a grand jury reviewed the evidence and declined to indict the driver for manslaughter or criminal negligence. 

The lawmakers who wrote HB 558 argued that law enforcement rely heavily on a breathalyzer exam to validate your level of intoxication, but the results of that exam could be dismissed in court or reduced to a pass or fail grade. Therefore, a blood sample, which would detect intoxicating substances much more accurately, should be required upon arrest for certain DWI offenses. 

House Bill 558

Once HB 558 becomes law, law enforcement will be required to collect a blood sample from a suspect under the following circumstances:

  • If the officer arrested you for an “intoxicating offense” that involved driving a motor or water vehicle

  • If you refused to submit to giving a specimen voluntarily

  • If you the officer had reason to believe your accident was the result of your being intoxicated

  • Or, if you were in an accident in which a person died or suffered serious bodily injury

Contact a Plano DWI Defense Lawyer

If you have been arrested for a DWI offense, contact a skilled Plano DWI defense attorney today. The lawyers at the Law Offices of Biederman & Burleson P.L.L.C. have a proven track record of success. Contact them today at 469-333-3333 for a free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.kxii.com/2021/04/22/one-year-after-denison-teachers-death-justice-for-katie-palmer-movement-continues/

https://capitol.texas.gov/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=87R&Bill=HB558

 

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