In Florida, the police obtain evidence in most DUI’s in a fairly standard manner. After the traffic stop, the police ask questions, make observations and ask the DUI suspect to participate in field sobriety exercises. The suspect can always refuse to answer questions and cooperate with the field sobriety tests. If the police officer does not have a camera to record answers and the suspect’s performance on the field sobriety tests, it is normally a good idea to refuse as there is no way for a suspect to prove what was said and how he/she performed later if DUI charges are brought and the case goes to trial. It should always be the responsibility of the state to have cameras available at DUI stops to property document evidence.
In most DUI cases, after an arrest, the suspect will be taken to jail where he/she is asked to blow in a breathalyzer to test blood alcohol content. However, there are situations where the police will seek blood instead. For instance, after a crash that involves an injury or death, the police will seek blood many times rather than a breath test. The blood is sent to a lab for testing for alcohol content. The police can obtain this blood from a DUI suspect in a few ways. The police can ask for and obtain consent from the suspect. Again, the suspect is not required to give such consent. If the suspect refuses and there is sufficient probable cause to believe the suspect was driving while impaired, the police officer may be able to obtain a search warrant to force the suspect to give blood that will later be tested for alcohol content. Also, if the suspect is injured, the hospital may take blood from the suspect as part of its normal treatment protocol. Some counties in Florida have a policy where they take blood from a suspect just to clear him/her medically so he/she can be taken to the jail, even if it is not clear the suspect is injured. In cases where the suspect goes to the hospital and blood is taken, the state may later subpoena those records to obtain blood test results.
DUI cases can be complicated when it comes to blood samples and alcohol testing results as the law provides the state with several methods to obtain evidence, but there are also times when the state does not follow the law allowing a criminal defense attorney to get alcohol test results thrown out.