Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Austin Police Officers to Be Armed with Guns … and Needles?


You have made the unfortunate decision to get behind the wheel of your car after having a few cocktails at your neighborhood bar. A police officer pulls you over for some questionable driving maneuvers. This fine member of law enforcement does not buy your story that you had “two beers … only two beers” and is not convinced by your slow and deliberate recitation of the alphabet. So, he pulls out the breathalyzer test. Having been advised by your buddies to refuse the test if you found yourself in this situation, you politely decline the request to blow. If the Austin police department has its way, you may still find yourself sharing your blood alcohol level with the law.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo is hoping to use money from a federal grant to train officers to take suspected drunk drivers to jail and, with a search warrant, draw a blood sample. As Acevedo explains it, this practice will save taxpayer money. Since the arresting officer will already be in court to testify concerning the arrest, he might as well also take on the duties of a jail nurse. Acevedo has stated that he has as many officers ready to train as the federal government can fund.

Austin DWI Attorney Ken Gibson shares a different perspective. He believes that, even with training, police officers are not qualified to stick needles in people’s arms. Both the police department and the city risk a great deal of liability if the procedure is not done correctly. Gibson says that people who exercise the right to refuse a breathalyzer test should not be worried that they will get stuck with a needle instead.

At Bertolino LLP, we have aggressive criminal defense attorneys who can assist you if you have been accused of a crime while under the influence. Please contact us if we can be of assistance to you.

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