Judges will be available 24 hours to issue warrants for blood draws
By KERRY CRAIG
Beginning Sunday, law enforcement agencies in Hopkins County will be adding another tool for dealing with drunk drivers.
According to Hopkins County Sheriff’s Chief Investigator Lewis Tatum, the sheriff’s department, Sulphur Springs Police Department and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers will be able to have a judge issue search warrants for blood draws around the clock.
Before this, a person suspected of driving while intoxicated would be asked to submit to a chemical breath test and could refuse.
Although refusing to submit to the breath test has the potential of harsh penalties, the new policy goes beyond the breath test and refusal is not an option.
Tatum said three judges will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to issue necessary paperwork to force a suspected drunk driver to provide a blood sample for testing to determine if the blood-alcohol content exceeds the minimum level of 0.08 percent for being legally drunk.
The policy for dealing with a person with at least two prior driving while intoxicated convictions will continue to be the same because the third offense elevates the charge from misdemeanor to a felony.