DUI Blood Test

In most driving under the influence (DUI) cases, police officers prefer to have alleged offenders submit to breath tests because such testing typically requires less training and provides instant results. When a person refuses to submit to a breath test or is unable to provide a sample, authorities may request or—in certain cases—forcibly draw blood samples from alleged offenders.

While blood testing is generally considered the most reliable way of determining a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC), it is also considered the most invasive form of testing. The state of Florida imposes strict guidelines that must be abided by in order for the results of blood tests to be considered valid and admissible as evidence in DUI cases.

Lawyer for DUI Blood Tests in Brooksville, FL

If police used a blood test to arrest you for an alleged DUI offense in Central Florida, it will be in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. defends clients accused of drunk driving offenses in communities throughout Citrus County, Hernando County, Pasco County, and Sumter County.

Brooksville criminal defense attorney Ashley Aulls understands the blood draw process and can identify any flaws that may lead to criminal charges being reduced or dismissed. Call (352) 593-4115 right now to have him review your case and answer all of your legal questions by setting up your first consultation. 

Florida DUI Blood Test Information Center

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When Blood Tests May Be Used in Hernando County DUI Cases

Blood tests are typically employed in one of four scenarios in Florida DUI cases:

  • An alleged offender voluntarily consents to a blood test;
  • There is reasonable cause to believe an alleged offender was driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic beverages or chemical or controlled substances and “the administration of a breath or urine test is impractical or impossible” [Florida Statute § 316.1932(1)(c)];
  • A law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a motor vehicle driven by or in the actual physical control of an alleged offender under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substances, or any controlled substances has caused the death or serious bodily injury of a human being (Under Florida Statute § 316.1933(1)(a), police officers “may use reasonable force if necessary” to require such alleged offenders to submit to the administration of blood tests); or
  • Under Florida Statute § 316.1932(1)(f)2.b., if a health care provider providing medical 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 level meets or exceeds the legal limit, the health care provider may notify any law enforcement officer or law enforcement agency.

Under Florida Statute § 316.1933(2)(a), the only people authorized to withdraw blood for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content thereof or the presence of chemical substances or controlled substances therein are physicians, certified paramedics, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, other personnel authorized by a hospital to draw blood, or duly licensed clinical laboratory directors, supervisors, technologists, or technicians, acting at the request of law enforcement officers. Florida Administrative Rule 11D-8.012 establishes the following procedures that must be followed when blood is drawn in DUI cases:

  • Before collecting a sample of blood, the skin puncture area must be cleansed with an antiseptic that does not contain alcohol.
  • Blood samples must be collected in a glass evacuation tube that contains a preservative such as sodium fluoride and an anticoagulant such as potassium oxalate or ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA). Compliance with this section can be established by the stopper or label on the collection tube, documentation from the manufacturer or distributor, or other evidence.
  • Immediately after collection, the tube must be inverted several times to mix the blood with the preservative and anticoagulant.
  • Blood collection tubes must be labeled with the following information: name of person tested, date and time sample was collected, and initials of the person who collected the sample.
  • Blood samples need not be refrigerated if submitted for analysis within seven days of collection, or during transportation, examination or analysis. Blood samples must be otherwise refrigerated, except that refrigeration is not required subsequent to the initial analysis.
  • Blood samples must be hand-delivered or mailed for initial analysis within thirty days of collection, and must be initially analyzed within sixty days of receipt by the facility conducting the analysis. Blood samples which are not hand-delivered must be sent by priority mail, overnight delivery service, or other equivalent delivery service.
  • Notwithstanding any requirements in Chapter 11D-8 of the Florida Administrative Code, any blood analysis results obtained, if proved to be reliable, shall be acceptable as a valid blood alcohol level.

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Legal Issues with DUI Blood Tests in Brooksville

When a person is arrested for DUI as the result of a blood test, one of the major issues concerns whether the blood test was legally authorized. If there was a lack of probable cause for the initial traffic stop or to arrest an alleged offender for DUI, a less invasive test was not impractical or impossible, or the alleged offender did not consent to the blood draw, the blood test may have violated that person’s rights under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Even when a blood test was legally authorized, there may be any number of errors or other issues with how the test was conducted and/or the sample was handled that could make the result inadmissible in court. A few of the common issues with blood tests include, but are not limited to:

  • Sample was taken by unauthorized individual;
  • Improper collection or storage;
  • Alcohol contamination of blood samples as the result of certain antiseptics;
  • Failure to sterilize medical equipment;
  • Failure to convert serum or plasma blood result to whole blood alcohol level; or
  • Decomposition of sample.

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Florida DUI Blood Test Resources

Missouri v. McNeely, 11-1425 — In a 5-4 decision issued on April 17, 2013, the United States Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Missouri Supreme Court in this case of a man who was stopped for allegedly speeding and crossing the centerline before failing field sobriety tests. The man refused to submit to a portable breath test, a breath test at the police station, and a blood test at a nearby hospital, but the officer ordered a blood draw without the man’s consent and arrested him for drunk driving after the results of the blood test showed a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.154 percent. The state argued that any delay in obtaining a warrant would lead to a destruction of the evidence, but the Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote “that in drunk-driving investigations, the natural dissipation of alcohol in the bloodstream does not constitute an exigency in every case sufficient to justify conducting a blood test without a warrant.”

Birchfield v. North Dakota, 14-1468 — In a 7-1 decision issued on June 23, 2016, the United States Supreme Court held that the Fourth Amendment permits warrantless breath tests incident to arrests for drunk driving but not warrantless blood tests. Birchfield consolidated three cases of men convicted for drunk driving; the conviction of a North Dakota man who refused to submit to a blood test was overturned, the conviction of a Minnesota man who refused to submit to a breath test stood, and the conviction of another North Dakota man who submitted to a blood test that he was informed he had to agree to was sent back to the lower court to determine if the consent was voluntary. Justice Samuel Alito wrote:

Because the impact of breath tests on privacy is slight, and the need for BAC testing is great, the Fourth Amendment permits warrantless breath tests incident to arrests for drunk driving. Blood tests, however, are significantly more intrusive, and their reasonableness must be judged in light of the availability of the less invasive alternative of a breath test. Respondents have offered no satisfactory justification for demanding the more intrusive alternative without a warrant. In instances where blood tests might be preferable—e.g., where substances other than alcohol impair the driver’s ability to operate a car safely, or where the subject is unconscious—nothing prevents the police from seeking a warrant or from relying on the exigent circumstances exception if it applies. Because breath tests are significantly less intrusive than blood tests and in most cases amply serve law enforcement interests, a breath test, but not a blood test, may be administered as a search incident to a lawful arrest for drunk driving. No warrant is needed in this situation.

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The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. | Brooksville DUI Blood Test Lawyer

Did authorities use a blood test to arrest you for DUI in Central Florida? It will be critical for you to seek legal representation as soon as possible.

Ashley Aulls of The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Brooksville who represents clients in Weeki Wachee, Inverness, Wildwood, New Port Richey, Spring Hill, Brooksville, and many surrounding areas. He can provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case when you call (352) 593-4115 or complete an online contact form.

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