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DUI and a Law Enforcement Blood Draw

Florida Statute 316.1933 states “If a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a motor vehicle driven by or in the actual physical control of a person under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substances, or any controlled substances has caused the death or serious bodily injury of a human being, a law enforcement officer shall require the person driving or in actual physical control of the motor vehicle to submit to a test of the person’s blood for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content thereof or the presence of chemical substances…”

This means that in a situation where someone is badly hurt or killed in a car accident law enforcement needs to get a blood draw if there is “probable cause” to believe the person was under the influence. This raises the question – what gives the officer that probable cause? Things like the smell of alcohol, bloodshot eyes, finding alcohol in the vehicle, speech patterns, dilated pupils, the way a person walks and more can create probable cause.

“A blood draw conducted at the direction of the police [constitutes] a search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment.” State v Liles, 191 So.3d 484 (Fla. 5th DCA 2016). That means that you have protections under the United States Constitution and the Florida Constitution. There are very specific things the police can and cannot do during one of these blood draws. There are rules about who can do it and under what circumstances.

“Thus, a warrantless, nonconsensual blood draw of a suspected impaired driver has only been found to be reasonable under the Fourth Amendment if: (1) there was probable cause that the individual had been driving under the influence of alcohol; (2) the blood was drawn pursuant to a specifically established exception to the warrant requirement; and (3) the blood draw was performed in a reasonable manner.” Schmerber, 384 U.S. at 770-71, 86 S. Ct. at 1835-36; and State v. Slaney, 653 So. 2d 422, 425 (Fla. 3d DCA 1995) State v Quintilla, 276 So.3d 941 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2019).

The rules governing law enforcement blood draws aren’t as straight-forward and common sense as one would like. The actions of the police officer should be heavily scrutinized to make sure that your rights were not violated. It’s important that you have knowledgeable counsel to help you with this. If you’ve been in an accident and your blood was drawn make sure that you call Dunham and Ingram today.