Local Sheriff's Office Authorizes Blood Draws From DWI Suspects At County Jail

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MCLENNAN COUNTY (April 14, 2013)--For the first time ever, the McLennan County Sheriff's Office says they will begin taking blood draws from DWI suspects who refuse to take a breath test at the McLennan County Jail.

The order comes direct from newly elected McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara.

In the past, deputies would have to obtain a signed search warrant then take DWI suspects to a local hospital to draw their blood.

Now, the McLennan County Jail medical staff will be performing that task.

McLennan County Chief Deputy Matt Cawthon says the new change will speed up the current process tremendously.

"We're just removing one step from the process," Cawthon said.

"This will expedite many of the DWI cases that occur within the county."

In some intoxication cases, blood is drawn even without a warrant. This would be the case for intoxication manslaughter cases or any drunken-driving cases that result in injury.

Cawthon says that some counties in Texas don't even give breath tests anymore.

"Breath tests are accurate but they aren't the benchmark standard anymore unfortunately," Cawthon said.

Cawthon says that the new change will go into effect Wednesday night.