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Is there a new law in the State of Texas that allows officers

of the law to forcibly...
Is there a new law in the State of Texas that allows officers of the law to forcibly take a person suspected of DUI to a hospital emergency room for observation and a blood test, and the bill for such be forced upon the suspect to pay -- and the suspect becomes legally liable to pay -- even when the suspect did not need any services or treatment, refused same, and took no test? Can officers of the law in Texas force hospital bills (e.g. emergency room fees that the officer initiated) on suspects even when no hospital services are needed / requested by the suspect and are expressly refused? If there is a new law permitting this, what is the citation, language of this law, and date enacted? Background: The billing office of a hospital in Texas has stated they believe this law exists and came into effect in 2012.
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Answered in 58 minutes by:
7/25/2013
Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Legal
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Experience: JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

The law in Texas that allows officers to take a person to a medical facility to draw blood for a suspected DUI is under the Implied Consent Law, Texas Tranportation Code 724. Texas Code of criminal procedure 104.002(d) also states that when someone is in custody of law enforcement that the subject is liable for any medical expenses related to their treatment or care and if the officer took you to the hospital for observation and a blood test, even if you subsequently refused the treatment or testing, the liability for the bill would still be your liability.

Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 104.002(d):

(d) A person who is or was a prisoner in a county jail and received medical, dental, or health related services from a county or a hospital district shall be required to pay for such services when they are rendered. If such prisoner is an eligible county resident as defined in Section 61.002, Health and Safety Code, the county or hospital district providing the services has a right of subrogation to the prisoner's right of recovery from any source, limited to the cost of services provided. A prisoner, unless the prisoner fully pays for the cost of services received, shall remain obligated to reimburse the county or hospital district for any medical, dental, or health services provided, and the county or hospital district may apply for reimbursement in the manner provided by Chapter 61, Health and Safety Code. A county or hospital district shall have authority to recover the amount expended in a civil action
.

Since you were under arrest for DUI, you are a prisoner of the county at that point.



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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

This law may make sense in some situations but clearly not in others. This law has the effect of empowering police officers to be doctors who can mandate medical treatment even if the subject refuses. Was this the intent of this law? If so, then police officers ARE in effect doctors in Texas who can force medical treatment on anyone they claim or suspect of something before the person has been proven to have anything requiring medical treatment. Police can see anyone walking down the street, decide they have a quota to fill in terms of putting people in jail, and claim that person is crazy or drunk without any proof, then put handcuffs on them, and force them into an emergency room for observation and make the person pay the hospital bill. This is how this law works, correct? Or can this be challenged in any way? Is Texas truly a Police state where the police can do whatever they want and make any person pay whatever bill they so choose, even acting as doctors when they are not? Under the "Implied Consent" law, how does the subject "imply" they have "consented" to medical treatment they verbally refuse? Isn't this "Assumed Consent" with the Officer assuming consent for any person they decide to take prisoner which they should have just cause to prove but as you know can be for just suspecting something based on their opinion or experience in dealing with others, but not necessarily based on the subject's behavior? The police can MAKE THINGS UP and they do all the time in order to put people in jail, particularly when their pay is tied to the number of individuals they incarcerate.

Thank you for your response.

The law does not force treatment on anyone, but officers are not doctors and they are mandated to make sure a prisoner in custody is checked if there is any question as to whether or not there may be something wrong with them. If the arrested subject refuses treatment, then the officer and their department are covered for liability purposes.

The DUI law for implied consent states that when you agree to get a drivers license, which is a privilege and not a right in Texas, that you agree to those rules and to comply with them.

From the practical standpoint in reality, the last thing the police want to do is babysit a prisoner at a hospital, it is one of their least favorite duties. Thus, generally they will avoid doing so if they can. However, the Texas implied consent laws do force them to take a DUI suspect to a qualified medical person for a blood test and if there is any potential that leads an officer to believe an arrested subject might be injured they must take them to a doctor as well.

Police may "make things up" all the time, but again none of them want to sit in a hospital waiting for an arrested subject to be seen by a doctor.
Law Educator, Esq.
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