In Florida driving under the influence cases, there are three chemical tests available to measure a driver’s blood alcohol content: breathalyzers, urine tests, and blood tests. Blood tests are generally considered to be the most accurate of the three, but there are some legal issues involved. If you have undergone or refused a blood test or other chemical testing after being pulled over for a DUI, it is important to call a lawyer who understands Florida DUI law and can expertly defend your case.Blood Tests
Blood testing is a generally accurate way to determine a driver’s BAC. Blood tests can also be used to determine whether other drugs, such as marijuana, opiates, cocaine, heroin, prescription drugs, and synthetic drugs are present in a driver’s system.
In Florida, there are four situations in which law enforcement officers can request a blood test:
- When a DUI suspect is treated at a hospital or other medical facility, and a breath or urine test is not practicable;
- If a health care provider treats a person injured in an auto accident and takes a blood test, he or she must report to police if the person’s BAC is over the legal limit;
- If a DUI suspect is involved in auto accident and has caused death or serious bodily injury, law enforcement may compel blood testing, even by using reasonable force;
- With the voluntary consent of the driver.
If blood testing is conducted, there are several strict procedures to follow to correctly extract, label, store, transport, and test the blood sample. Blood samples are sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for testing using gas chromatography.
There are two types of blood test samples: legal blood and medical blood. Legal blood refers to blood testing conducted by law enforcement. For legal blood to be admissible in court, the proper implied consent warnings must have been given. Medical blood is that drawn and tested by a healthcare professional. In some circumstances, a prosecutor may be able to subpoena the test results for medical blood.
If law enforcement officers do not follow the required procedures exactly, the results are invalid and inadmissible in court. A lawyer can move to suppress the blood test results if every step of the correct procedure has not been followed.Blood Test Refusal
Generally, a driver must give consent to a law enforcement officer to draw blood. Florida’s implied consent law means that everyone who drives on the state’s roads has already impliedly consented to chemical testing if stopped for a DUI. If a driver refuses testing, his or license will be suspended for a year. For second and subsequent refusals, a driver’s license will be suspended for 18 months, and the driver will be charged with a misdemeanor, which can result in fines and jail time.
Blood and other chemical tests are strong evidence in any DUI case, and chemical test refusal can have serious consequences for a driver, so if you have either refused or submitted to a blood test, you need an experienced attorney to defend your case. Please call West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney William Wallshein for a free initial consultation.