Dalworthington Gardens police are not qualified to draw blood from suspected drunken drivers, County Criminal Court Judge Billy Mills ruled Tuesday afternoon.
It is unclear how Mills' ruling will affect driving while intoxicated cases that were based on the department’s controversial “no refusal” policy or other police departments that have implemented a similar policy.
In 2005, Dalworthington Gardens police became the first in the state to allow trained officers to draw blood from drivers suspected of being intoxicated.
Christi Lynn Johnston, 25, of Bedford challenged the Dalworthington Gardens officers’ qualifications in Mills’ court last week. Officers testified that they had to physically hold down Johnston while a blood sample was taken from her during a December 2005 DWI arrest. Johnston's Fort Worth attorney Avery McDaniel asked Mills to throw out the blood evidence because the Dalworthington Garden police officers, who are cross-trained as emergency medical technicians, aren’t qualified to draw blood. McDaniel said the Texas Transportation Code allows only physicians, chemists, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses or professional technicians to extract blood samples for prosecution. He added that the law excludes emergency medical personnel and experienced phlebotomists. The officers who arrested and took blood from Johnston were basic and intermediate EMTs.