When a police officer suspects a person of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (i.e. DUI), he/she will sometimes request a blood draw to measure blood alcohol content rather than a breath test, or breathalyzer, or a urine test. While an officer can request a breath test, or breathalyzer, or a urine test from a suspect when he/she has good reason to believe the suspect is intoxicated from alcohol and/or drugs to the extent his/her normal faculties are impaired, i.e. DUI, that officer is not as free to request blood to investigate a DUI as blood tests are more intrusive than breath and urine tests.
Under Florida law, a police officer can only request a blood draw to check for DUI if: 1) the police officer has reason to believe the suspect was operating the vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, 2) the suspect appears for treatment at a medical facility and 3) a breath or urine test is impractical or impossible. A person can always consent or agree to a blood test, but that consent must be free and voluntary. If a police officer requests a blood draw when all three of the above factors are not present without notifying the suspect that a blood test is not required and that implied consent only applies to a breath or urine test, then consent to a blood test for DUI is not valid.
The three factors allowing police to request a blood test for DUI are most often present in serious accidents. However, if a person is in a less serious accident and does not need medical treatment, a blood test is likely inappropriate. Blood tests are not the norm for DUI investigations in Florida. If you have been arrested for DUI in the Jacksonville, Florida area, or even been asked by a police officer to submit to a blood test and think you may be arrested for DUI in the future, feel free to contact us for a free consultation. It is certainly possible that the police officer was not justified in requesting the blood draw and any incriminating blood alcohol test results may be inadmissible in court.