Houston DWI Arrest Lawyer Joseph LaBella Weighs in on Blood Test Standards in Texas

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Houston DWI Attorney Joseph LaBella raises questions about a new law that authorizes paramedics and emergency medical technicians to take blood samples from suspected drunk drivers.

Paramedics and other emergency medical professionals must be properly trained, receive the proper equipment, and follow the correct procedures to ensure that a blood sample doesn’t become tainted.

With thousands of Texas paramedics authorized to take blood samples for suspected DWI drivers as of September 1, Houston DWI arrest attorney Joseph LaBella said today that reducing the qualifications to collect evidence could do more harm than good.

According to House Bill 434, Texas legislators voted unanimously to approve the legislation, which will allow blood tests to be taken by certified paramedics and EMTs. Signed by the governor on June 14, the bill goes into effect on September 1.

“While every effort to reduce alcohol-related crashes and fatalities in Texas is crucial to the safety of our drivers, relaxing the standards and requirements for gathering important evidence could result in more false positives and potential problems with the chain of custody of the evidence,” said LaBella, who represents individuals accused of drunk driving in Houston and elsewhere in Texas.

Under House Bill 434, authorization to administer blood tests is expanded from licensed physicians, nurses, technicians or chemists to include paramedics and other emergency medical technicians. The bill states that life-saving medical care takes priority over obtaining blood samples and that police officers cannot pressure emergency medical personnel to take a sample rather than treat injured accident victims. Furthermore, the bill said that law enforcement must oversee the procedure and properly document the chain of custody of a blood sample.

In accordance with Texas State Transportation Code 724, these tests will require law enforcement officials to either have “reasonable cause” or take place on a Texas “no-refusal weekend.” On one of these weekends – typically a holiday weekend – police have the ability to forcibly collect blood samples from hundreds of suspected drunk drivers regardless of their consent.

“With Texas law expanding to allow thousands of paramedics, EMTs, and other emergency medical personnel to administer blood tests, the margin of error increases. We have identified blood test errors when doctors or nurses take specimens. False sample results could land innocent people behind bars,” said LaBella, a DWI attorney in Conroe. “Paramedics and other emergency medical professionals must be properly trained, receive the proper equipment, and follow the correct procedures to ensure that a blood sample doesn’t become tainted. That’s why it’s important for anyone who is charged with DWI to have an experienced lawyer protecting their rights.”

About Joseph LaBella & Associates
Attorney Joseph Labella handles drunk driving arrest cases in Houston and throughout the state of Texas. As an experienced, aggressive criminal defense attorney in Texas, Joseph LaBella works with clients who are facing drunk driving charges and other serious charges. He fights aggressively for clients and has a 90 percent success rate. Along with drunk driving cases, LaBella also handles probation violations, murder charges, case dismissals, drug crimes, sex crimes, and hit and run charges.

If you’re looking for more information on what to do if you’ve been arrested for a DWI in Texas, call 1-800-989-6839 for a free case consultation.

Joseph LaBella & Associates is located at:
220 W Davis St.
Conroe TX 77301

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