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Blood Testing in Florida Driving Under the Influence Prosecutions - Evidence Suppressed

Blood Testing in Florida Driving Under the Influence Prosecutions - Evidence Suppressed

What happens when a driver requests and is denied an independent blood test in a Florida DUI case?

Florida Courts can grant a DUI defendant's Motion to Suppress. The driver had requested a Blood Alcohol Test. The DUI attorney also requested that there be no reference to the Presence of Chemical or Controlled Substances in Defendant's Blood in the jury trial of the case. A circuit court has granted a "Motion to Suppress and in the DUI charge, the State may not introduce into evidence or comment, directly or indirectly, on the results of the defendant's breath test, mentioning the presence of prescription drugs found, nor argue the defendant was impaired by any chemical or controlled substance."

What is the law in Florida where an Independent Blood Test is denied?

The court reviewed the Defendants Motion to Suppress where the driver claimed her Right to an Independent Blood Test had been violated. The court said, "Florida law is clear that after a DUI arrestee submits to a breath test, they may then request an independent blood test and law enforcement, as their custodian, must provide reasonable assistance. Whether the assistance provided is "reasonable" and thus sufficient to satisfy law enforcement's duty under the statute will depend on the circumstances of each case, Unruh v. State, 669 So. 2d 242, 244 (Fla. 1996) [21 Fla. L. Weekly S104a]. The States argument that the request for an independent blood test was required to come directly from Defendant, [the driver] as opposed to being made by her attorney is rejected. The Court finds whether [the driver] or her counsel requested the independent blood test is a distinction without a difference; to hold otherwise would render defense counsel superfluous."

How can a driver request an Independent Blood Test in a Florida Case?

Typically, a driver is arrested for DUI and possession of controlled substances and then transported to the jail. Subsequent to the driver's arrest, the driver submits to a breath test. In one case, the driver retained an attorney. Where there is uncontroverted evidence that the driver's attorney who called the jail several times, requested to speak with his client directly, but was not allowed to, the lawyer requested that the arresting agency comply with both state law and police on assisting a DUI suspect with an independent test, determined an independent blood test was crucial. In this scenario, an independent test would been critical evidence to establish not only whether the DUI suspect was impaired by alcohol but also to dispute whether the driver had consumed chemical or controlled substances.

In most law enforcement agencies, there is a policy that requires police to provide reasonable assistance in obtaining an independent blood test. Where the cops told a DUI Attorney that law enforcement would not accommodate the independent blood test, the DUI lawyer requested police to document the police report to reflect a phone call, the lawyer offered to pay for the test and to meet the Officers at the Hospital, and then no independent blood test was obtained, a Florida Court gutted the State Attorneys case by eliminating most of their arguments about the alleged impairment of the driver. As the Circuit Court said, "An independent blood test would have been scientific evidence as to the level of alcohol, chemical or controlled substances in [the driver's] blood.

Source: State v Cardamone, Case No. 2015-301767 CFDB (Circuit Court, 7th Judicial Circuit Volusia Cty. Dec 7, 2015);