DUI Cases with a Blood Test Result
In some DUI cases, the arresting officer will request a blood sample. It is likely the officer will request a blood sample if an accident occurred, especially if the driver or another person is taken to the hospital for injuries. If an officer suspects a driver may face felony DUI charges because of past convictions, a blood test also may be used.
If you submit to a breath or urine test, you also have the right to request an independent blood test. If the officer refuses to accommodate that request, your breath or urine test might be excluded from evidence. A driver might also be asked to submit to
Strict rules apply for this invasive form of testing. The blood can only be taken by a nurse, doctor, paramedic other qualified medical professional. The blood can only be taken if you go to the hospital or an ambulance for medical treatment. The blood test can detect the presence of alcohol or any chemical or controlled substance. Drivers who use drugs, including prescription medication, still can be charged with DUI for being under the influence of drugs. This form of DUI is often called "drugged driving" in Florida.
The officer can only legally obtain a legal blood test if you either consent or if exigent circumstances provide an exception to the warrant requirement. These issues are usually highly contested in court. In many cases, if the officer did not obtain a warrant, your blood test will be suppressed as being taken in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
Attorneys for DUI Blood Test Cases in Tallahassee, FL
If you agreed to submit to a blood test or if it was taken by force, contact an experienced defense attorney at Pumphrey Law. The attorneys at Pumphrey Law have years of experience fighting for the rights of clients facing DUI charges. The lawyers use their experiences on both sides of the courtroom to fight for the best possible outcome in each case.
Pumphrey Law is located in Tallahassee. The attorneys represent clients in the city and throughout the surrounding areas, including Crawfordville in Wakulla County, Quincy in Gadsden County, Bristol in Liberty County and Monticello in Jefferson County.
Call (850) 681-7777 to schedule a free case evaluation.
Information Center for DUI Blood Tests
- DUI Blood Tests for Drugged Driving
- Florida's Method of Blood Test Analysis
- Defenses to Blood Test DUI Cases
- DUI Blood Test Resources
When a driver submits to a breath test and blows under the legal limit of 0.08, the arresting officer may request the driver submit to a urine test or a blood test. Often times the officer suspects the driver is drugged driving, meaning driving under the influence of drugs, rather than alcohol.
If the driver submits to the blood test, the sample is sent to Florida's crime labs where tests are performed to look for the presence of certain drugs that could inhibit a person's normal faculties, such as:
- Cannabinoids, indicating the ingestion of marijuana or cannabis
- Synthetic drugs, such as K2 or spice
- Street drugs, such as cocaine or heroin
- Prescription drugs
- Over-the-counter medications
Florida's crime labs typically run certain “immunoassay” tests as a preliminary screening process. The tests can determine the presence of certain types of drugs but not the quantity, which is important for concluding the driver would have been under the influence of the drugs at the time of driving. If such drugs are determined to be present, the crime lab may order additional testing on the sample.
This process of blood test cases is time-consuming for prosecutors in Florida's Second Judicial Circuit. Florida's speedy trial rules require a misdemeanor DUI case be brought to trial within 90 days of the arrest. Although the prosecutor may be entitled to a 15-day recapture period, the 105-day period may not give the prosecutor sufficient time to prepare for trial.
When the blood sample is examined to find the presence of drugs during the preliminary "immunoassay" testing, a different type of testing is used called gas chromatography mass spectrophotometry or "GC-MS" for short. This form of analysis produces a graph of data points containing certain "peaks." The chemist with the crime lab can compare this data with known standards to determine the presence of certain illegal or prescription drugs.
In certain cases, prosecutors will attempt to use the blood test results from the hospital for the purpose of establishing the blood alcohol concentration. The hospital blood test typically is done on blood serum and not whole blood.
Generally, the blood test results are more accurate than the breath test results in determining if a driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Although, in some ways, fighting the results of the test case can be easier than fighting the breath test case for several reasons:
- Prosecutors typically are less experienced in prosecuting driving under the influence cases with a blood test result.
- The prosecutor often is required to present expert testimony before the results of the blood test are admissible at trial.
- The prosecutor often has a difficult time "tracking" the blood sample or proving the "chain of custody." If one part of that "chain of custody" cannot be established, the trial court may exclude any mention of the blood test at trial.
Consequences of a Refusal in Florida - Read more about the consequences of refusing the breath, blood or urine test on the official website for Florida's Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The DHSMV website includes information on the refusal to submit to a blood, urine or breath test. The refusal is generally admissible as evidence in DUI criminal proceedings. Find information on the second or subsequent refusal charged as a misdemeanor. A first refusal can result in a driver license suspension period for one year and a second refusal can result in a driver license suspension period for 18 months.
Finding A DUI Blood Test Attorney in Tallahassee
If your chemical test involves analyzing a blood sample, contact an attorney experienced in challenging the results of those tests. The DUI lawyers at Pumphrey Law understand the importance of contesting this scientific evidence, which leads to the best pre-trial negotiations.
Pumphrey Law has years of experience defending clients facing DUI charges, and they will fight to make a difference in your case. Call (850) 681-7777 today to speak directly with a criminal defense attorney about a DUI blood test case.
This article was last updated on Friday, September 16, 2016.
Attorney Don Pumphrey Jr. is a former prosecutor, former law enforcement officer, and a successful and experienced criminal defense attorney.