DWI – Texas

TX appeals court’s rulings limit warrantless blood draws

February 18, 2016 — Austin Statesman – The Texas 3rd Court of Appeals delivered three rulings Wednesday that essentially gutted a portion of the state law that allowed police in certain circumstances to draw blood from suspected drunken drivers without a warrant.

The court ruled that police can no longer rely on portions of the Texas Transportation Code that say they don’t need a warrant if a driver has two previous convictions for driving while intoxicated or if the driver had caused a serious injury.  One case reviewed by the court involved a suspected drunken driver who was involved in a 2011 crash that sent two people to the hospital. The driver, Gina Roop, refused sobriety tests and didn’t consent to police taking a blood sample.

Appeals court’s rulings limit warrantless blood draws photoHowever, at the Travis County Jail, the Austin police officer who detained her ordered her blood drawn, which indicated Roop’s blood alcohol level was 0.276, more than three times the legal limit. Roop tried to have the blood test suppressed in her case, but a judge ruled against that. She later pleaded guilty to felony driving while intoxicated.  One of the three rulings Wednesday voided her conviction and ordered a new trial. The appeals court ruled that blood could only be taken without a warrant if a police officer was in a situation in which a warrant couldn’t be obtained before the driver’s blood alcohol level returned to normal. In Roop’s case, a magistrate was on call at the time of her arrest, but the officer made no attempt to get a warrant.

South Texan with 8 DWI convictions get 70 years

May 2, 2014 — CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) — A South Texas man with eight driving while intoxicated convictions has been sentenced to 70 years in prison for his latest DWI case.   Jurors in Corpus Christi sentenced 58-year-old Richard Vollick over a December traffic accident. Investigators say Vollick crashed his vehicle while exiting the Harbor Ferry.    The Corpus Christi Caller-Times reports another driver and a ferry worker saw Vollick’s vehicle hit some metal sign posts that punctured the gasoline tank. Both tried to assist and found Vollick smoking a cigarette in a puddle of gasoline.   Vollick, who was also fined $10,000 on Wednesday, has DWI convictions in Nueces, Aransas and San Patricio counties.

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