When police in Texas request a blood sample from an intoxicated subject, the police must first get a warrant. This is because of a Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruling last month that warrantless blood samples are unconstitutional. According to the district attorney for El Paso, though, exigent circumstances or an individual’s consent make a warrant unnecessary.
Exigent means an emergency situation. In a case out of El Paso, a man who was allegedly intoxicated caused a crash that took the lives of three people on Christmas Eve. Three counts of intoxication manslaughter have been filed against the man.
According to witnesses, the man was speeding through a red light when he t-boned the victims’ car. Police said that the blood sample order was given before a warrant could be obtained because the man was going to receive medication at the hospital that would have altered the results.
One defense attorney said that there is an on-call judge in any jurisdiction that can be contacted to approve search warrants. “Everybody should do their part without having any questions of whether that process was done correctly,” the attorney said.
An interesting note to this story is that the man ended up leaving the hospital without receiving any medical treatments, including the medication that may have altered his blood alcohol concentration test.
Those who have been injured or the family of those who are killed in an accident due to an impaired driver may believe that a situation such as this one will make it very difficult to seek compensation from the at-fault driver. The truth is that criminal charges do not have to be filed against the responsible party in order for a wrongful death or personal injury case to succeed. An experienced personal injury attorney can provide more information about how to best proceed with a civil lawsuit under these circumstances.
Source: kvia.com, “Police: Blood sample taken from Joel Garcia without warrant because medicine could have altered blood” Ashlie Rodriguez, Dec. 30, 2014