Under Florida Statute §316.1932 (implied consent law), you are required to submit to a breath or blood test if police have reasonable cause to believe that you have been driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Any person operating a motor vehicle in Florida is essentially giving implied consent to take a chemical or physical test for intoxication or drug use. Refusing to participate in a blood test may result in a driver’s license automatically being suspended for 1 year. If the driver previously refused a lawful blood alcohol test the license can be suspended for 18 months. However, there may be legal grounds that will prevent the imposition of a penalty for refusal or if you submitted to the exam, grounds to throw the results of the test out of court. Therefore, if you have been arrested for DUI or refused to take a blood alcohol test you should contact a DUI attorney right away.
Under the U.S. and Florida Constitution, drivers are protected from an unreasonable search or seizure by law enforcement, and blood tests are treated as a search and seizure. Therefore, any chemical test for determining a driver’s blood alcohol will need to comply with search and seizure laws. For instance, if the police did not have a reasonable suspicion of DUI, the investigation and any evidence obtained from the investigation may be invalid and inadmissible in a court of law. However, in order for the protection against illegal stops and seizures to apply there must have been a nonconsensual detention of the defendant. To read more about nonconsensual detention click here.
Additionally, defendants are entitled to be represented by a dui defense attorney. However, there is no constitutional right to counsel prior to the imposition of a blood alcohol test. The right to counsel does not kick in until the defendant is actually charged with a crime. Further, the police do not have a duty to advise defendants that there is no right to counsel prior to charging a defendant with a crime. Moreover, police do not need to even read you your rights before requesting the blood alcohol test. Miranda rights only apply to testimony and chemical or physical blood alcohol tests are not considered testimony. Therefore, the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination will not apply.
Errors in the administration or analysis of blood alcohol test may also render the results of the test inadmissible in court. Blood alcohol tests can provide false results if the testing was administered without proper sterilization, coagulation, fermentation, refrigeration, or markings. Any inconsistencies or errors such as these could result in the blood test being inadmissible as evidence in court. Also, if the results of the blood tests administered by the crime lab and independent lab differ in their results, both tests may be thrown out of court.
Our Tampa DUI attorneys have years of experience in helping clients beat their DUI charges. We carefully scrutinize every detail of a case to identify any potential errors by police, violations of constitutional rights, mishandling of evidence, or sloppy police work that we can use to help our clients. Every DUI case is unique, so we carefully develop a comprehensive legal strategy that is individualized for each client. To find out if we can help you beat the DUI charges or for answers to your legal questions, contact us today by phone, email, or website form to schedule a free consultation with a Tampa DUI lawyer at our firm.