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Law Offices of Stephen K. Miller, P.A
 
Can a Law Enforcement Officer take my blood during a Driving Under the Influence stop?

Can a Law Enforcement Officer take my blood during a Driving Under the Influence stop?

A DUI stop can have serious consequences. In some situations, a law enforcement officer may take a blood sample to measure the alcoholic content of the driver’s blood instead of providing a breathalyzer test or urine sample. In other cases, blood draws are mandatory. However, Florida law provides strict guidelines for the collection of these blood samples—an officer cannot simply demand that a driver consent to a blood sample and then draw the blood absent serious bodily injury or death. Florida Statute 316.193 outlines three scenarios in which a law enforcement officer is permitted to take a sample of your blood during a DUI stop.

The first circumstance under which a blood test could be appropriate occurs when an officer has probable cause to believe that a motor vehicle driven by (or in actual control of) a person under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substance has caused death or serious bodily injury of a human being. This stipulation still applies in single-car DUI accidents where the driver was the only passenger and was seriously injured.

The second circumstance occurs if there is “reasonable cause” to believe that the person in question was driving under the influence of alcohol or another controlled substance and that person appears for treatment at a hospital, clinic, or other medical facility, and the administration of a breath or urine test is either impractical or impossible. At this point, the blood test would be the last option after a breathalyzer or urine test have been ruled out. This is a heavily litigated issue because the words “impractical” and “impossible” can mean many things.

Finally, a blood draw test may occur when the potential defendant submits to the blood sample voluntarily and not as the result of compliance to a lawful authority such as a law enforcement officer. Under this provision, the law enforcement officer is required to notify the potential defendant that Florida’s implied consent law requires submission only to a breath or urine test, and that the blood test is offered as an alternative. If the law enforcement officer fails to clearly specify this fact to the defendant, then any evidence obtained during a subsequent test or search could be declared inadmissible in court.

It is important for those who have been accused of driving under the influence to seek representation from a competent criminal defense attorney. A good lawyer will be able to determine whether or not a DUI investigation was conducted properly, and can help you to obtain the best possible outcome in your case. At the Law Offices of Stephen K. Miller, our attorneys represent clients all over the state of Florida on a case-by-case basis, with our primary office in Gainesville and satellite offices in Ocala, Chiefland, Lake City, Palatka and many other areas.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen K. Miller for a free consultation with one of our attorneys at (866) 496-8752 or via email at Info@ForYourLaw.com.

BY: Monica Perez-McMillen, Attorney at Law

June 14, 2012
 
 
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