In Florida, there are four ways in which law enforcement can obtain the blood alcohol test results of a suspect.
Implied Consent Blood Draws: Under Florida law, when a person drives a motor vehicle in Florida, he or she impliedly consents to have his blood drawn and the results provided to law enforcement. So, even if the person is unconscious and unable to give voluntary consent to a blood draw, if the five conditions below are met, police arrange for person’s blood to be drawn and then get the results.
- There is reasonable cause to believe the person was driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic beverages or chemical or controlled substances.
- The person appears for treatment at a hospital, clinic, or other medical facilities (including an ambulance).
- The administration of a breath or urine test is impractical or impossible.
- The blood draw is performed in a reasonable manner.
- A qualified person must draw the blood.
Because in cases like these consent to a blood draw is implied, if the person refuses to provide a blood sample they will face a 12 or 18 month driver’s license suspicion, and if it’s their second refusal the State can charge them with a first degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to a year in jail.
Death Or Serious Bodily Injury Cases – Forced Blood Draws: If a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a person has driven under the influence and as a result of that DUI a human being has been killed or seriously injured, the law enforcement officer can ask a judge to issue a warrant allowing the officer to use a reasonable amount of force to obtain a blood sample from the driver. If for some reason the law enforcement officer cannot contact a judge, it’s possible under the “exigent circumstances” exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement that the officer could use force to obtain a blood sample without a warrant.
Voluntary Consent Blood Draws:Even if a DUI does not involve death, serious bodily injury, or an impracticality or impossibility of breath or urine testing, a police officer can ask a driver to undergo a blood test. The officer cannot threaten the person in order to make him consent – the consent must voluntary. However, at the time the request is made the officer must tell the driver that the implied consent law requires submission only to a breath or urine test and that the blood test is offered as an alternative.
Medical Blood Draws:If a health care provider, who is providing care in a health care facility to a person injured in a motor vehicle crash, becomes aware, as a result of any blood test performed in the course of that medical treatment, that the person’s blood-alcohol is .08 or above, the healthcare provider can share that information with law enforcement.
Can Blood Tests Be Challenged In Court?
Yes. In order for Blood Test results to be admissible in a Florida Court, the prosecutor must prove that the blood sample was taken properly – both legally and medically. Common questions that need to be addressed in blood draw cases are:
In the case of an implied consent blood draw or a serious bodily injury blood draw, did the officer have probable cause to believe that the person was driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence?
If the case of a voluntary consent blood draw, was the consent free, knowing, and voluntary?
In the case of an implied consent blood draw, was a breath or urine test truly impossible or impracticable?
Did a qualified person perform the blood draw?
If the police performed a forced blood draw, was there probable cause to believe that another person suffered serious bodily injury?
Were the samples properly handled to ensure they were not contaminated?
Were proper medical procedures followed during the blood draw?
Are you looking for the best DUI lawyer in Tampa Florida? Contact Attorney David C. Hardy.
Tampa Attorney David C. Hardy is a former DUI prosecutor that now represents persons accused of DUI. He is Board Certified by the Florida Bar and the National Board of Trial Advocacy as an Expert in Criminal Trial Law. As a prosecutor and defense attorney, he has extensive experience handling all types of DUI cases.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI in Hillsborough County Florida, Pinellas County Florida, or Pasco County Florida, Attorney David C. Hardy has the knowledge, skills, and experience to guide you through this process and obtain the best possible results.