Police in Florida Can Force a DUI Suspect to Give Blood in Some Circumstances

In Florida when a police officer stops a driver and suspects that he/she is driving under the influence of alcohol (aka DUI, DWI or drunk driving), the officer will normally ask the driver is he/she will submit to a field sobriety test or field sobriety examinations. The driver has every right to refuse to submit to the field sobriety tests, and we would suggest that a driver needs to seriously consider refusing such a request because whether a driver passes or fails the field sobriety tests is subjective and determined solely by a police officer who already suspects that the driver is drunk.

Additionally in Florida, a police officer conducting a DUI investigation will also ask the suspect driver to submit to a breath, blood or urine test to determine the driver’s blood alcohol level. In Florida, the legal limit is 0.08. When a person in Florida accepts a driver’s license and the privilege to drive, he/she impliedly consents to take the breathalyzer test, however, the request to take the breathalyzer, blood or urine test is often refused by people under investigation for DUI for various reasons. However, in some circumstances, the police can force a person to submit to a blood test.

Florida law provides that the police can compel a person to give blood for a DUI investigation to check blood alcohol content (BAC) if the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs and that driver caused an accident resulting in serious bodily injury(ies) to someone. In other words, if a person is involved in an accident that seriously injured someone and the police officer finds evidence that the driver caused the accident and was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time (i.e. odor of alcohol, slurred speech, stumbling/swaying, admitting to drinking alcohol or using drugs, taking the field sobriety test and/or other factors), the police officer can force the suspect driver to give blood to be tested for alcohol content.

On the other hand, if the police officer forces a suspect to give blood and the police officer cannot later meet those elements in court because someone else was the cause of the accident or no one was seriously injured or there was insufficient evidence that the suspect was impaired by alcohol or drugs, then the resulting drug test may be thrown out after the criminal defense lawyer files a motion to suppress evidence of the blood test.

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