DUI Blood Draw in Florida
If a COP expects that I am impaired, can they take my blood?
When most people think of getting arrested for driving under the influence, they think of field sobriety exercises and blowing into a machine to determine your Breath Alcohol Content (B.A.C.). For an overview of DUI,see our blog. However, there are instances when an officer can compel or request that a driver provide a blood sample for testing of its alcoholic content. Generally speaking, it arises in three circumstances:
- Voluntary consent to a blood draw. Drivers do have the option of requesting a blood test to determine its alcohol content before or after a breath test. Law enforcement does not have to inform drivers of this option but, if it is requested, they have to take reasonable steps to ensure that you are able to provide a sample of blood for testing purposes.Also, even in circumstances where the implied consent law does not apply, an officer may request that a driver voluntarily submit to a blood test. See Chu v. State, 521 So.2d 330, 331 (Fla. 4th DCA 1988). Consent in this situation depends on a totality of the circumstances. See Washington v. State, 653 So.2d 362, 364 (Fla. 1994). Chu established a two prong test for the admissibility of a voluntary blood test obtained outside the scope of the Implied Consent Law. First, the person must be fully informed that the Implied Consent Law requires submission only to a breath or urine test and the blood test is offered as an alternative; and second, the consent must be knowingly and voluntarily made and not as the result of the acquiescence to lawful authority. Id. Only if both conditions are present is the blood draw considered to be voluntary and admissible in evidence. State v. Irons, 19 Fla.L.Weekly Supp. 864a (Brevard Cty. Ct. 2012). Mere submission to police authority is not valid consent.See Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, 412 U.S. 218 (1973).
- If 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 to the extent their normal faculties were impaired, when a person appears for treatment at a hospital, clinic, or other medical facility and the administration or a breath or urine test is impracticable or impossible, Fla. Stat. § 316.1932(1)(c). If the only reason for the trip to the hospital is to have blood taken, a blood draw is not permissible under this section. State v. Lymon, 19 Fla.L.Weekly Supp. 953a (Palm Beach Cty. Ct. 2012).
- When the “law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a motor vehicle driven by or in actual control of a person under the influence of alcoholic beverages or controlled substance has caused death or serious bodily injury of a human being.” Fla. Stat. § 316.1933(1). The mere fact of a fatality in an accident is not determinative; there must be probable cause that the driver was impaired and the impaired driving caused the accident. State v. Lymon, 19 Fla.L.Weekly Supp. 953 (Palm Beach Cty. Ct. 2012) (while driver struck and killed a bicyclist, the accident was caused by another driver that forced the defendant to swerve to avoid the accident and as he swerved, he hit the decedent. Also, it was raining heavily and bicyclist did not have lights or reflective clothing).
Contact Brandon Legal Group – DUI Blood Draw in Florida
If you are ever stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence, it is important that you know your rights. You do not have to consent to a blood draw and there are very narrow circumstances where you can be forced to give your blood. Please contact Brandon Legal Group at 813.902.3576 if you have been arrested for a D.U.I. We can help!