When Can Police Request a Blood Test?
Under Florida law, police may request a blood test in one of four scenarios.
- First, under the Florida Implied Consent Law (Section 316.1932, Florida Statutes) police may request blood where a DUI suspect appears for treatment at a hospital, clinic, or other medical facility and the administration of a breath or urine test is impractical or impossible.
- Second, police may take a blood sample where a health care provider, who is treating a person injured in a motor vehicle accident, takes a blood test of the patient and then notifies police that the patient’s blood alcohol level exceeds the legal limit. In this scenario, as outlined in Section 316.1932, police may then request the withdrawal of a blood sample pursuant to Florida law.
- Third, police in Florida may obtain a blood sample where a DUI suspect was involved in a motor vehicle crash and is determined to have caused death or serious bodily injury. Where there is death or bodily injury, Section 316.1933, Florida Statutes, provides that the blood test may be compelled, even through the use of ‘reasonable force.’
- Fourth, police may obtain a blood sample from a DUI suspect on the basis of voluntary consent. For additional information on consent to a blood test, visit our web page on Florida’s Implied Consent Law.
Procedures for Blood Testing
Where a blood test is requested or compelled in a Florida DUI case, strict procedures must be followed with regard to the extraction, labeling, storage, transport, and testing of the sample. Even seemingly insignificant non-compliance can affect the validity of the blood result and its admissibility in a court of law.
The procedures governing blood testing in Florida are outlined in Chapter 11D-8 of the Florida Administrative Code. With regard to collection, extraction, and labeling, a medical professional or authorized technician must abide by the following procedures:
- Before collecting a sample, the skin puncture area must be cleansed with an antiseptic that does not contain alcohol.
- Blood samples must be collected in a glass evacuation tube that contains a preservative such as sodium fluoride and an anticoagulant such as potassium oxalate or EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid). Compliance with this section can be established by the stopper or label on the collection tube, documentation from the manufacturer or distributor, or other evidence.
- Immediately after collection, the tube must be inverted several times to mix the blood with the preservative and anticoagulant.
- Blood collection tubes must be labeled with the following information: name of person tested, date and time sample was collected, and initials of the person who collected the sample.
- Blood samples need not be refrigerated if submitted for analysis within seven (7) days of collection, or during transportation, examination or analysis. Blood samples must be otherwise refrigerated, except that refrigeration is not required subsequent to the initial analysis.
- Blood samples must be hand-delivered or mailed for initial analysis within thirty days of collection, and must be initially analyzed within sixty days of receipt by the facility conducting the analysis. Blood samples which are not hand-delivered must be sent by priority mail, overnight delivery service, or other equivalent delivery service.
- Lastly, the blood must be withdrawn by a physician, certified paramedic, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, or other person authorized by the hospital, or by a licensed laboratory director, supervisor, technologist or technician.
Defenses to a Blood Test- Florida
Under Florida law, there are multiple ways to challenge the validity or admissibility of a DUI blood test.
If the prosecution fails to establish that the test was conducted in substantial compliance with the Florida Administrative Code provisions, then the results may be suppressed for lack of evidentiary reliability. Common examples include:
- Improper collection;
- Alcohol contamination (during sterilization);
- Contamination by microorganisms;
- Failure to properly preserve the blood sample;
- Lack of refrigeration (when required);
- Lack of training or certification by the person withdrawing or testing the blood;
- Break downs in the chain of custody;
- Any other testing non-compliance that undermines the reliability of the results.
Defenses may also arise where a defendant’s legal rights are violated in the course of a DUI investigation. Common examples include:
- Lack of probable cause or reasonable suspicion for the initial traffic stop;
- Lack of reasonable suspicion to request field sobriety exercises;
- Lack of probable cause to make an arrest for DUI;
- Lack of evidence that the defendant caused the crash resulting in death or bodily injury (if applicable);
- Misstatements of law or legal authority;
- Invalid consent (if applicable);
- Breath or urine test not impossible or impractical (if applicable);
- Lack of probable cause to believe that the defendant was under the influence of alcohol or other substances at the time of a crash;
Contact an Attorney
If you have been arrested for Driving Under the Influence in Jacksonville, Duval County, Clay County, or Nassau County, Florida and were subjected to a DUI blood test, you may have defenses available to contest the charge or to minimize potential penalties. Contact Hussein & Webber, PL today for a free consultation.