A few weeks ago, I posted about a practice apparently originating in Utah but spreading to other states: police officers using hypodermic needles to draw blood from DUI suspects — often on the highway. As the following local news story indicates, the practice continues to gain momentum:
Texas Police Will Take Blood By Force in DUI Cases
After completing a training course, Dalworthington Gardens police officers have been certified to draw blood from any motorist whom they suspect of driving under the influence of alcohol.
The small North Texas city joins three counties — Montague, Archer and Clay — which have recently adopted similar policies. These jurisdictions are seeking to make drunk driving convictions less vulnerable to court challenge as mounting evidence shows breathalyzer machines can be inaccurate…
Section 724.017 of the Texas code requires that, "Only a physician, qualified technician, chemist, registered professional nurse, or licensed vocational nurse may take a blood specimen at the request or order of a peace officer….’qualified technician’ does not include emergency medical services personnel." Dalworthington Gardens believes their twenty-hour course meets this standard.
The Texas law permitting only physicians, technicians, chemists or nurses to draw blood seems fairly clear. But then, of course, we’re dealing with the "DUI Exception" here…. Incidentally, did you catch that one little phrase in the story? The one about "mounting evidence shows breathalyzer machines can be inaccurate"?…..(When I read that, I had a flashback to the scene from Casablanca where the police captain, pocketing his winnings, says to the Nazi officer, "I am shocked, shocked, that gambling is going on at Rick’s Place!".)