Transportation

High Court Ruling Won’t Affect DWI Enforcement In Houston

Houston Police say they’re already getting search warrants to take blood samples from some DWI suspects.

teenage drunk drivers

As DWI enforcement ramps up for the holiday season, Houston police say their efforts won’t be affected by a new ruling from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

In deciding a case from South Texas, justices ruled it’s unconstitutional for police to take a blood sample from a DWI suspect if they don’t have a warrant. Many departments do blood draws during holiday “No Refusal” efforts, when suspects refuse to take a breath test.

Officer Don Egdorf with HPD’s traffic division says the ruling won’t affect efforts here in Houston.

“We started doing warrants on every refusal case in April of last year,” Egdorf says. 

Egdorf says he’s discussed the ruling with the police department’s legal advisors and the Harris County DA’s Office, and HPD is acting with the law.

“We go through the process of getting a search warrant, get it signed by a judge who establishes that we do have probable cause. Then we do the blood draw,” Egdorf says.

HPD expects to be busy this holiday season as officers work to stem some of the highest DWI fatality rates in the country.

 

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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