If a police officer in Jacksonville or anywhere else in Florida pulls you over and suspects that you are under the influence of alcohol, he/she will likely conduct a DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs) investigation. This typically consists of questions about where you have been, whether you have been drinking and if so, how many drinks. This is followed by a request to submit to field sobriety tests, the results of which are based on the subjective opinions of the police officer. You have a right to refuse to answer these questions and a right to refuse to take the field sobriety tests by politely requesting to speak with your criminal defense lawyer.
The typical DUI investigation in Jacksonville, Florida will also involve a request by the police officer for you to submit to a breath, blood or urine test to measure your blood alcohol content. Usually, the request is for the breath test. Drivers often refuse to submit to these breath, blood or urine tests during a DUI investigation.
However, in one case in Jacksonville, Florida, the police officer took the driver to jail and then obtained a search warrant for the driver’s blood to test the blood for alcohol content after the driver refused the breathalyzer. The officer contacted a judge who signed the search warrant and authorized the forced seizure of the driver’s blood for alcohol content testing purposes. The criminal defense attorney for the driver later challenged the state’s right to use the blood test in court in the criminal case. However, the court allowed the state to use the results from the forced blood test because a valid search warrant was obtained for the blood. The court noted that driving is a privilege and can be strictly regulated by the state. As a result, a driver may have the option to refuse a breath, blood or urine test, but a driver does not have the right to refuse, and the state may be able to force a blood test pursuant to a valid search warrant.
If you have questions regarding your rights and obligations in the context of a DUI investigation or arrest in the Jacksonville, Florida area or anywhere in Florida, feel free to contact us for a free consultation.