The Fourth Amendment protects “the right of people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” Citing violations to this amendment, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals recently ruled that the statute that allows police officers to issue mandatory blood tests of uncooperative DWI suspects without a warrant is unconstitutional.

The decision follows a case in Nueces County, when a DWI suspect was forced to submit to a blood test without his consent because he had two prior convictions. The court ruled that this was unconstitutional, maintaining that forced blood testing violates a citizen’s rights.

When discussing the decision with reporters from KVUE, attorney and Director of the Texas Civil Rights Project Jim Harrington explained, “It’s one thing to do a breathalyzer, it’s quite another to draw your blood because that will show of course all kinds of private information about any kind of medication or any kind of disease you might have. And it’s very intrusive.”

The ruling may invalidate the state law that allows authorities to obtain a blood sample without a warrant under certain circumstances, such as if the suspect has had two or more previous convictions, or if a person was killed or injured in the accident.

If You Are Stopped By a Police Officer in Texas

While a police officer might try to convince you to submit to a blood test, you have the right to refuse testing under Texas law. If you are pulled over under suspicion of drunk driving, you should say as little as possible while politely declining sobriety, breath, and blood-alcohol tests.

If an officer has forced you to submit to a blood test without your consent or has successfully retrieved a warrant, contact Texas criminal defense lawyer James P. Whalen. Pulling from his years of experience, Mr. Whalen can combat the search warrant and defend your civil liberties.