Skip to main content
Driving while intoxicated Comal County

DWI Warrantless Blood Draws and Exigent Circumstances

 The Third Court of Appeals released another driving while intoxicated exigent circumstances opinion this week. See State v. Couch, 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 8855, *1.

The Third Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s finding that exigent circumstances did not exist to justify a warrantless search of the suspect’s blood. The relatively short opinion summed up the facts justifying the warrantless search:

In summary, the circumstances in this case include a two-vehicle collision that had resulted in injuries and that was blocking the road; the need for multiple officers to investigate the collision and determine its probable cause before a warrant could be prepared; a DWI suspect who needed to be transported to a hospital that was approximately 45 minutes from the scene of the collision; an unsuccessful attempt by the arresting officer to find a judge to sign a search warrant approximately 30 minutes after the officer had arrived at the hospital with the suspect; the possibility that obtaining a search warrant could delay the blood draw by at least another hour; a reasonable concern that the suspect could receive medical intervention at the hospital that might interfere with the blood draw; and an awareness by the arresting officer that the suspect’s blood-alcohol content was diminishing and that over two-and-a-half hours had elapsed since the collision had occurred

id. at *17-18.

It is worth noting that despite its ultimate ruling against the state, the trial court found the sole testifying officer to be credible. If you look through the recent history and filings in this case, you will see there was a back and forth over which findings the trial court would adopt regarding which statements made by the officer were credible.

Do you have questions about a driving while intoxicated offense? Call 830.445.4394 or contact our Comal County defense team today.

Additional recommended reading: “Recent Third Court of Appeals Opinion on Reasonable Suspicion in a DWI Case

DWI Lawyer in Boerne, TX

blood-alcohol level, driving while intoxicated, exigent circumstances opinion, Third Court of Appeals, warrantless search