Forced Blood & Urine Draws in DWI or DUI Cases Are Not Always Reasonable

Posted by Doug Murphy | Jun 03, 2017 | 0 Comments

Forced Urine or Blood Draw in a DUI DWI Case

Law enforcement aggressive tactics to force blood or urine draws after a person is arrested for DWI or DUI sometimes are not always safe or reasonable.  The 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution requires a warrant be issued for any search or seizure.  The U.S. Supreme Court reminded law enforcement that the 4th Amendment is still alive and well in the United States requiring a search warrant in order to draw blood from a DUI or DWI suspect if they do not consent.   

Forced Urine or Blood Draw Must be Reasonable

Just because the government has a search warrant, the execution of that search warrant must also be reasonable.  The U.S. Supreme Court held in Schmerber v. California that the forced bodily fluid extraction must be executed in a reasonable manner, i.e., according to reasonable “means and procedures”, or accepted medical practices.  The Supreme Court went further to hold that they were not deciding a case where blood was drawn at a police station … “if it were administered by police in the privacy of the stationhouse.  To tolerate searches under these conditions might be to invite an unjustified element of personal risk of infection and pain.”  They obviously had the foresight to understand realistic medical concerns with forced police blood or urine draws.

New Jersey Woman Contracts MRSA Infection After Forced Urine Catheterization

A New Jersey woman who contracted a MRSA infection after a forced catheterization to take a urine samples following her DUI arrest is being paid $140,000 to settle a lawsuit. 

This is just one example of many where people contact severe infection or suffer other unjustified pain at the hands of over aggressive law enforcement in DWI DUI arrests.  In Texas, you need specific training and a license to give someone a haircut, but a person does not need a license or specific training to puncture someone and take their blood. 

Jails are not Sanitary Places

Throughout Texas and the United States, forced blood draws are being conducted in unsanitary police stations and county jails.  Recently heard of 2 unrelated cases in Montgomery County where it is alleged that jail officials told suspects who refused breath and blood tests that they were either required to receive a tuberculosis vaccine, or sign a waiver that if they contracted TB, the jail would not be responsible.  I'm told the suspects agreed to the TB vaccine, and subsequently had their blood drawn.  Officials claimed the blood draw was consensual.

If you are unsure of whether your no refusal weekend blood draw was done reasonably, contact a board certified DWI lawyer who has the experience and expertise in routinely handling these cases successfully.

About the Author

Doug Murphy

Doug Murphy is one of only two Texas lawyers Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and also in DWI Defense by the National College for DUI Defense, accredited by the American Bar Association and the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.


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