Texas law enforcement officials fear a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling could affect how police arrest and prosecute drunk driving suspects.
An 8-1 decision by the high court basically forces police to first obtain a warrant before taking involuntary blood samples from DWI suspects. The new restrictions could erase current exceptions in Texas law.
However, South Texas College of Law's Gerald Treece says the ruling actually gives credence to Texas' “No Refusal Law.”
The case involves a Missouri man who failed several field sobriety tests before a state trooper sent him to the hospital for a blood test without first getting a warrant. Treece says the Fourth Amendment won this case.
“This is what the law should be, it's just Missouri argued that getting a warrant takes too long,” He tells KTRH News. “It may be inconvenient, but it's also part of our Constitution.”
“They didn't even say there was some overriding circumstance or children are involved,” says Treece.
Treece says Texas has those 'exigent circumstances' in place. One other difference is Texas allows telephonic warrants, meaning police can simply make a quick phone call and get permission to take a suspect's blood – thus cutting into Missouri's argument that “it takes too long.”
“If it is possible, get a warrant,” he says. “If it is not, let's go to exigent circumstances.”