BROWNSVILLE — The Cameron County District Attorney’s Office has sought a Texas Attorney General’s ruling to determine whether it must release the results from a blood draw administered to State Rep. Rene Oliveira after an April drunken driving arrest.
The Brownsville Police Department arrested Oliveira, who lost his long-held seat in the Texas House of Representatives during a May runoff with Cameron County Commissioner Alex Dominguez, on April 28 and charged him with drunk driving after he left the scene of a car crash.
In its request for an opinion to the AG, the DA’s office said it believes the information is not subject to disclosure because it relates to a pending criminal investigation and prosecution of a crime. The request also cites two AG opinions from 2001 and 2003 in which it ruled against similar requests. According to the request, the Texas Supreme Court also has found that such information is confidential.
However, court records do show that Oliveira is being charged with driving while intoxicated with a blood alcohol content greater than 0.15 percent, which is nearly double the legal limit in Texas of 0.08 percent.
In 2011, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 1199, which created stricter penalties for people convicted of driving with a blood alcohol content that is greater than 0.15 percent. Oliveira voted in support of that legislation, Texas Legislature records show.
Oliveria is scheduled to be arraigned on the charge at 8 a.m. Aug. 15 in County Court at Law No. 1, court records indicate.
According to a police report, Oliveira crashed his black Cadillac into a vehicle stopped at a traffic light after eating dinner at Cobbleheads and having a “few” drinks with friends.
The woman Oliveira crashed into told police that he stumbled out of his vehicle to check if she was OK, and told her that he would take care of everything and asked her to contact his insurance provider. The police report states that Oliveira gave her his business card, which only had his name and a business address.
The police report indicates Oliveira would not tell authorities how many alcoholic drinks he consumed and states that he refused a breath test and blood test, and that he would not perform a standardized field sobriety test. Authorities obtained a search warrant for a blood draw.
The accident occurred just before 10:30 p.m. on the 800 block of Boca Chica Boulevard, and Oliveira told police who responded to his home that he left the scene because “he believed the matter to be settled,” according to the police report.
Responding officers noted damage to the black Cadillac that Oliveira had driven that night, including two right-side tires that were flat and the front right wheel having significant damage.
The state representative has apologized for the incident.
“Last night I made a mistake in judgment, and thankfully, no one was injured. I sincerely apologize to my family, friends, colleagues, and most especially to my supporters,” he wrote in a statement released April 29. “I am embarrassed, but grateful no one was hurt. In my career I have counseled people who have made similar mistakes, and I remind them that we are all only human.”
Oliveira also said he doesn’t expect special treatment.
“I know that my error in judgment has consequences, and I will accept those consequences,” he said. “I know that I will not be treated any differently than anyone else.”
Oliveira was released on a $2,500 bond on April 28.