The state requires police to follow certain protocol when making a stop and gathering evidence to support criminal charges. A failure to follow these rules can result in serious consequences, including the inability to submit evidence to court. A recent case provides an example.
In this case, an officer conducted a traffic stop and accused the driver of driving while under the influence of alcohol. He requested a blood alcohol test. The driver refused. The officer submitted an affidavit to a judge requesting the court provide a warrant. If granted, the warrant would allow the officer to get a sample of blood for testing despite the driver’s refusal. Ordinarily, this would allow the officers to gather evidence to submit in court and support criminal charges.
But there was a problem in this case.
In this situation, the driver states the officer did not follow proper protocol when putting together the affidavit. The officer failed to submit a second affidavit stating he was under oath and properly sworn in before submitting the initial affidavit. As a result, the driver argued the affidavit was not valid, the warrant improper and the evidence not allowed in court.
Upon review, the court agreed.
What does this mean for drivers who face similar charges in Texas?
The case provides an example of the importance of careful review of all evidence, all tactics, and all angles of a criminal case. In this instance, the driver was able to show the second affidavit acknowledging the officer took the oath was never submitted and get the evidence thrown out. Without careful review, the driver may not have found this error and may have had to fight the allegations in court.