Harris County has suffered a major impact following a massive recall involving medical devices used to preserve blood evidence following a DWI arrest. In fact, as many as 11,000 DWI cases in Harris County could potentially be impacted by recalled test tubes. A number of law enforcement agencies in the Houston area received a recall letter which stated the blood evidence test tubes used in DWI arrests are compromised. It appears that a crucial preservative powder which should have been included in the blood vials was not included. This preservative stops the blood alcohol concentration from changing and the blood from clotting, according to a release from the Houston Forensic Science Center.
Harris County DWI Cases Under Review - An immediate review is underway by the Harris County District Attorney’s office; Sean Teare told 'Channel 2 Investigates' that he believes that as many as 11,000 DWI defendants could be affected by the recall of the blood test tubes. The cases which could be impacted, date back as far as August 2018. The Harris County Sheriff’s Department stated that deputies typically use a different type of kit to collect blood samples for the more serious intoxication manslaughter cases—those cases are not believed to be impacted by the recall. The Sheriff’s office continues to work with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office as well as the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences to identify the cases which could be impacted by the recall.
As Many as 1,700 Cases Since Beginning of 2019 Could Be Impacted - According to 'ABC13 Eyewitness News', a Houston lab that works with HPD and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office says it received 6,000 of the recalled test tubes, and out of those, about 5,200 were given to the Houston police. On a larger scale, the Houston Forensic Science Center says the recall involves about 240,000 vials in total. A DWI case typically involves two tubes, and the Houston PD believes about 3,400 of the tubes were used. Although workers who are trained to draw blood should check to see whether the powder preservative is present, once the blood is in the vial, it is impossible to determine whether the preservative was present.
The blood vial recall will require the Houston Police Department, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and the Houston Forensic Science Center to review and disclose information on at least 1,700 cases dating back to the beginning of 2019. A problem now exists for crime labs across the state of Texas and across the nation, since the manufacturer is the primary provider of blood vials. It remains to be seen how Harris County DWI cases involved in the recall could be impacted.
If You Believe Your DWI Case Could Have Been Compromised, Contact a Houston DWI Attorney today - If you believe your Harris County DWI case might have been compromised due to one of the recalled blood draw tubes, it is important that you contact an experienced Houston DWI attorney. If, during your prior Texas DWI, you submitted to the blood alcohol test to determine your blood alcohol concentration, a knowledgeable Houston criminal defense attorney can help you with your DWI in Texas. In the same vein, if you have recently been arrested for a Houston DWI, you could benefit from speaking to a Houston criminal defense attorney immediately.