In Florida, most DUI cases result from a police officer claiming to observe a person violate a traffic law. The police officer conducts a traffic stop, claims to observe signs of impairment from alcohol or drugs and then initiates a DUI investigation. DUI investigations normally involve various questions about where the driver has been, what the driver has been doing and how much the driver has had to drink. The driver, of course, is free to refuse to answer any of these questions. They are designed to discover evidence that can be used against the driver in a DUI case. The police officer will also ask the driver to perform field sobriety tests. These are completely subjective coordination tests that can be difficult and should be refused if the police officer does not have a video camera to record this critical encounter. Finally, the police officer will normally ask the driver to submit to a breathalyzer test to measure the driver’s blood alcohol level. Unfortunately, these tests are only given after the DUI arrest. Therefore, a good number on the breath test will not change the fact of the DUI arrest. The police officer has a right to request a breath test if there is probable cause to believe the driver is impaired. While the driver can refuse the breathalyzer test, a refusal will likely result in a longer driver’s license suspension because of the Florida implied consent laws.
The police officer cannot ask for a blood test in normal DUI cases. There are certain rules that dictate when a police officer can seek a blood draw alcohol test in a DUI case. Failure to follow these rules will result in any blood alcohol test being thrown out of court.
A driver in a case just south of Jacksonville, Florida had wrecked his motorcycle, and the police officer arrived after the fact. The police officer claimed to observe the standard factors such as odor of alcohol and slurred speech. The police officer arrested the suspect for DUI and took him to the hospital due to a potential ankle injury. At the hospital, the police officer requested a blood sample to test for alcohol content. The police officer did not mention the possibility of a breathalyzer alternative. The suspect agreed to the blood draw. He was treated for an ankle sprain and released. He was then taken to the jail.