Florida Court Discusses the Rights of DUI Defendants

In most DUI cases, the State will rely on the results of chemical testing to determine whether or not the defendant is guilty. Despite the fact that Florida’s implied consent legislation requires all motorists accused of DUI to consent to breath or urine testing, police must acquire warrants to conduct blood tests unless there are extenuating circumstances. If a person is forced to take a blood test without a warrant, the test may be considered an unreasonable search, and the findings may be inadmissible. The considerations considered in deciding whether the police conducted an unconstitutional blood test were discussed in a recent Florida judgment coming from a DUI prosecution. If you’ve been charged with a DUI, it’s a good idea to consult with a skilled Florida DUI defense attorney about your options.

The Subject Arrest

According to reports, the defendant was involved in a car accident. When officers arrived at the site of the accident, they suspected the defendant of being inebriated and asked her to submit to field sobriety tests. She performed poorly on the tests and claimed to have a knee issue. She admitted to drinking rum and coke earlier in the day when questioned if she had consumed alcohol.

The police allegedly took the defendant to a hospital and demanded that she give a blood sample. On two instances, she declined the request. After determining that a passenger in the other vehicle involved in the crash died as a result of his injuries, the investigating officer ordered an involuntary blood sample, which revealed that the defendant’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.13 percent three hours after the accident. The defendant was charged with DUI manslaughter and filed a motion to suppress the blood test results prior to her trial. She appealed after the court dismissed her request and the jury returned a guilty judgment.

Blood Draws without a Warrant

In Florida, the law plainly specifies that the police must get either consent or a warrant for a blood draw in order to comply with the Fourth Amendment, unless some other exception exists. When the exigencies of the situation make the police’s needs so pressing that conducting a search without a warrant is objectively reasonable under the Fourth Amendment, one exception to the rule applies.

The burden of proof is on the State to show that such an exception to the warrant requirement exists. The court in this case refused to accept the State’s argument that urgent circumstances exist in all drunk driving instances, ruling that such reasoning was contrary to established law. The defendant’s conviction was dismissed when the court concluded that the State failed to meet its burden of proof.

Seek Advice from a Seasoned Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney

DUI offenders have various rights, and any evidence gathered during the investigation of an accused incident may be excluded from use at trial if the police violate those rights. If you’ve been charged with a DUI, you should speak with an attorney about your options. The seasoned Tampa criminal defense attorneys of Hanlon Law are skilled at helping people charged with crimes fight to protect their interests, and if we represent you, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can reach us via the form online or at 813-228-7095 to set up a meeting.



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