After being rejected by the court three years ago, a Texas appeals court decided that a police department in the northern part of the state will be allowed to take blood samples of people suspected of driving while intoxicated.

Six years ago, authorities in the county felt that DWI offenders were not receiving the penalties they deserved because only 55 percent of those who were arrested for suspicion of driving while intoxicated were actually convicted. To address this, the police chief created a program to teach officers how to draw blood from DWI suspects as a type of sobriety test. Because of the new evidence, 99 percent of people charged with driving while intoxicated were being convicted.

In 2008, however, a county judge determined that blood evidence could not be used in a drunk driving case because the sample was not taken by a medical professional in a medical setting. The case was appealed, and the court found that while the officers were properly trained to draw blood, there were other issues with the protocol police were following. They said the procedures should have been recorded with a video camera, and the suspects should have been asked more medical questions.

Earlier this month, however, the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals sided with the city's law enforcement, saying that it is constitutional for officers to draw blood from suspects. The city's program has been suspended during the appeals process, but once the officers have been re-trained it will be up and running again, potentially by the weekend of July 4.

Experienced Texas DWI attorneys know that not everyone accused of drunk driving is guilty. Strong defenses can be built to challenge these charges.

Source: FOX 4 News: "Court: Police Can Draw DWI Suspects' Blood," Lari Barager, 30 March 2011