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Texas hires new EMTs to do blood draws for DUI

Recently the United States Supreme Court ruled that states cannot order blood tests from drunken-driving suspects without obtaining a warrant. According to the court, if the driver refuses to submit to a blood test the blood cannot be drawn without a warrant from a judge. Violating this law, according to the court, constitutes an illegal search as outlined in the Fourth Amendment. The court also noted, "...the natural dissipation of alcohol in the bloodstream does not constitute an exigency in every case sufficient to justify conducting a blood test without a warrant," Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote for the court.

Texas increases ability to perform blood draws after DUI arrest

This ruling, however, has not stopped states from increasing their ability to perform blood draws from DUI suspects. For instance, Texas recently introduced a new law authorizing more than 6,000 Texas paramedics to conduct DWI blood draws. According to reports, the law was passed by the Texas Legislature this spring. The EMTs will now be available either by request from the police or will be able to come to the scene of a DUI accident and quickly perform the blood withdraw. Emergency medical technicians were first available over the Labor Day Weekend. Oddly enough, the report indicates that the holiday brings in “thousands of dollars of revenue” due to arrests and DUI charges. The district attorney viewed the increased blood withdrawal capability as a win for the citizens of Texas. Not only are EMTs available more quickly, now there is an efficient, sanitary method for an authorized blood test. The District Attorney also noted that in the future the state may decide to “develop a system of mobile units.” If they are developed and sent to traffic stops and accident sites police officers would no longer have to take suspects to a local hospital or jail to have medical personnel conduct blood tests.

Extra Patrols sent out during the holiday season

Texas can also expect the state to send out increased DWI patrols each holiday season. Generally the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) provides grants to the state to increase police presence during the holidays, allowing for officers to focus DWI patrols in high-risk locations at times when alcohol-related crashes are most frequent. This may seem like an extra expense, but as mentioned above, because the traffic stops and subsequent arrests generate thousands of dollars in revenue, it could be viewed as an investment to generate revenue for the state. For instance, according to the Austin American Statesman, almost 2,000 arrest were made last year over Labor Day Weekend. That did not include the 25,000 speeding tickets, 4,000 seat belt/child safety citations and about 4,000 no insurance tickets which were also issued. It’s not hard to see that stopping drunk drivers and speeders not only may save the lives of Texas across the state, it also generates a lot of money for the Lone Star State.
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