New Texas law: Paramedics can do blood draw on scene for DWI suspects

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by Gary Cooper / KENS 5

khou.com

Posted on September 1, 2013 at 2:13 PM

Updated Sunday, Sep 1 at 2:24 PM

Starting Sunday, a new state law has taken effect in Texas to make it easier for the long arm of the law to catch up with drivers who have had too much to drink.

The new law, passed this spring by the Texas Legislature, says that if officers think alcohol played a factor in a crash, paramedics at the scene can draw your blood.

The law comes just in time for Labor Day weekend, a holiday when many folks are going to drink -- and some may try to drive.

"In the last legislative session, the legislation addressed an issue of whether EMTs could take blood in relation to intoxication behind the wheel, be it an accident issue or an arrest," said Susan Reed, Bexar County district attorney.

The change came from a state court opinion from years ago.

"Now in Bexar County, what that means is we have already established a system of taking blood and doing blood warrants and DWIs."

Now, add paramedics to that.

"We could develop a system of mobile units, using EMTs to do that," she said. "But remember, it is still the circumstance of having the sanitary place."

But at the end of the day, the DA says it's a good move -- especially for Labor Day weekend.

"It actually gives us more options and more ability to do warrants and do blood draws in relation to DWI."

The new law will allow 6,000 paramedics across the state to draw blood if the police at the scene ask for it.

More patrols will be out looking for impaired drivers for the holiday weekend. The Texas DPS is increasing DWI patrols through Sept. 9.

Last year, DPS troopers made nearly 2,000 DWI arrests.

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