Over 1,000 DWI blood samples remain untested in Bexar County

No-confidence vote in testing lab creates backlog

SAN ANTONIO – The Bexar County District Attorney continues to prosecute misdemeanor DWI cases in spite of the fact that prosecutors do not have blood samples on which to rely.

Concerns over the credibility of the independent laboratory that has been doing the testing have prompted the DA to stop using blood evidence.

"It's only one piece of evidence," said Bexar County District Attorney Nicholas "Nico" LaHood. "It's not everything in a DWI case, and we are training our prosecutors and they've responded accordingly."

LaHood said his staff uses other evidence such as eyewitness testimony, field sobriety tests and Breathalyzer testing and that they are getting good results.

"Last year, the conviction rate in misdemeanor DWI cases was 52 percent and this year, so far, they are at 68 percent," he said.

In felony DWI cases, it is a different story.

"When it comes to intoxication assault cases and intoxication manslaughter cases, those cases have always been, and will continue to be, tested by the Bexar County medical examiner," LaHood said.

LaHood said that the search continues for an independent lab to test blood samples in misdemeanor cases.

"We have visited and researched a number of organizations that do blood testing," he said. "We want to make sure that we respond and not react to this situation."

About the Author

Paul Venema is a courthouse reporter for KSAT with more than 25 years experience in the role.

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