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DUI Blood Test in Florida

Many blood test DUI cases occur after a crash or accident when the driver is charged with DUI causing property damage or bodily injury. The blood test can also occur after the driver goes into an ambulance or to the hospital for any other reason. Call us to find out how we fight to exclude the results of the chemical test.

Under several recently announced decisions by the United States Supreme Court, if an officer takes blood in a DUI-related case, the officer must have either free and voluntary consent or exigent circumstances. If the blood was taken without a warrrant, these issues are often highly contested during a motion to suppress the blood taken. 

Significant problems can occur with testing blood to determine its alcohol concentration in crime labs in Florida that can artificially inflate the reading including:

  • clotting;
  • hemolysis; and
  • hemoconcentration.

In some cases, the prosecutor can also try to obtain medical records to show a serum test conducted by the hospital. The results of any medical blood test taken by the hospital are often very difficult for the prosecutor to use at trial. The criminal defense attorney might also file a motion to suppress any mention of the medical blood test result prior to trial. 

In some cases, the driver may request an independent blood test after taking the requested urine or breath test. If the officers to not accommodate that request for an independent blood test, then the sample collect by the law enforcement officer can be suppressed or excluded from evidence. 

Attorneys for the DUI Blood Test Case in Tampa, FL

If you were subjected to a blood test after a DUI arrest or investigation, then contact an experienced DUI defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm. Leslie Sammis has been fighting DUI cases including cases involving legal or hospital blood for more than 14 years. 

She has filed and litigated many complicated motions to suppress in these cases in and around Tampa and Plant City in Hillsborough County, FL, in DUI blood test cases involving a legal or medical blood draw. Call today for a free consultation to discuss your case at 813-250-0500.

If you were charged with DUI in a case involving a blood test in or around Tampa or Plant City in Hillsborough County, FL? If so, contact an experienced DUI defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm. Call 813-250-0500.


Different Circumstances Leading to a Blood Test

Blood test cases can arise in a number of different circumstances including:

  1. The officer requests a blood test after the driver goes to the hospital and a breath test or urine test is impossible or impractical;
  2. The officer obtains hospital records through a subpoena showing a blood alcohol concentration level after an accident; or
  3. The driver requests a blood test after submitting to a breath or urine test.

In most cases, the officer has no right to force a blood draw if the person refuses to test. When the officer has no other legal grounds to request the test he might allege that the request was "consensual" because the driver agreed that the officer could take the blood. Any consensual blood draw is highly suspect under the Fourth Amendment and should be contested during a motion to suppress the blood test.


Certification of Blood Withdraw in a DUI Case

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement FDLE Alcohol Testing Program has developed certain forms to be used in blood test cases. These forms including the certification of blood withdraw form 11 (last revised in August 1, 2001).

I certify that as a physician, certified paramedic, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, or other person authorized by a hospital to draw blood, or as a licensed clinical laboratory director, supervisor, technologist or technician, I am authorized by 316.1932, 316.1933, 322.63, 327.352 and 327.353, Florida Statutes, to withdraw blood at the request of a law enforcement officer.

I certify that on ______________________________ I withdrew blood from _______________________________________________________ at the request of _____________________________________.

The blood sample(s) were collected and labeled in accordance with the provisions of Rule 11D-8.012, Florida Administrative Code.

Before collecting the blood sample(s), the skin was cleansed with an antiseptic that did not contain alcohol. The blood sample(s) were collected in glass evacuation tubes that contained a preservative and an anticoagulant. Immediately after collection, the tubes were inverted several times.

The blood collection tubes were labeled with the name of the person tested, the date and time the sample(s) were collected and the initials of the person who collected the sample(s). ____________________________________________________________

(Printed name of person withdrawing blood)

____________________________________________________________

(Title)

____________________________________________________________

(Signature) 

_____________________________________________________________

(Date)

May also be used in administrative proceedings pursuant to s. 322.2615, Florida Statutes. To be forwarded to the local Bureau of Driver Improvement Office, Division of Driver Licenses, Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.


Blood Collection Kit for DUI Testing in Florida

A blood kit contains all implements and forms required for qualified persons to collect a blood alcohol sample for evidence purposes including for a DUI investigation to determine the driver's blood alcohol concentration or the presense of controlled substances. It is the procedure of the Tampa Police Department and other law enforcement agencies that the Supply Section will maintain a sufficient supply of blood evidence kits.

After the blood is collected, both tubes should be filled with blood. The tubes must be inverted (not shaken) at least five times to ensure mixture with the preservative. Failing to do this is the main cause of blood alcohol samples being rendered unsuitable for testing. The contents of a blood collection kit must include the following items:

  • Mailing Container - a cardboard container used to protect, store and transport the blood alcohol sample to a laboratory;
  • Plastic Bag - The plastic kit box is placed inside the plastic bag and then inside the mailing container;
  • Evidence Seals (4) - two evidence seals for the blood vials and two evidence seals for the mailer box;
  • Integrity Seals (2) for the plastic kit box;
  • Biohazard Label for the exterior of the mailing container;
  • Absorbent Pad is placed inside the plastic kit box on top of the blood vials;
  • Two 10-milliliter collection tubes - containing preservatives and anti-coagulants;
  • Sterile needle and disposable holder - a sterile needle of standard size used at most hospitals and clinics;
  • Antiseptic cleansing solution (non-alcoholic) - used to cleanse the area of the arm before the blood is drawn;
  • Blood collection report, instruction sheet and consent form - the blood collection report documents the date, time and location the sample was collected; and
  • Forms - the person collecting the sample and the officer observing the collection will both sign the form.

After collecting the blood sample, the arresting officer will usually charge the person with DUI using a Florida Uniform Traffic Citation. On the citation, the officer will make the notation that the DUI charge is “Pending Blood Results.”

Thereafter, the officer must deliver, as soon as possible, the blood sample to the Evidence Control Section for refrigerated storage. The case and all evidence will be referred to the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) and a detective will be assigned to the case. The detective will be responsible for forwarding the blood sample to FDLE for analysis and for receiving the results once the analysis is completed.

In some cases, the person is not immediately charged with DUI. If the blood test come back positive for an alcohol reading over .08 or with the presence of any controlled substance, the assigned detective may file DUI charges (often called the "direct file"). 

If the charges are direct filed, then the DUI citation will be served on the driver and a court date will be set. 


Blood Alcohol Collection Guidelines in Florida

Many law enforcement agencies provide their DUI enforcement officers with guidelines related to the collection of blood to determines the level of alcohol drugs present in the sample. In Florida, these guidelines usually require: 

__ Implied consent was read to subject. 

__ Legal Draw

__ Consensual Draw

__ Court Ordered Draw

__ Blood Kit is Sealed. 

__ Blood Kit has not expired. The expiration date is: 

__ Both blood collection tubes were inspected and found to be in good condition. The seals appeared new with no visible cracks, holes, or flaws; and both blood collection tubes contained the preservative and anti-coagulant power inside. 

__ Observed injunction site to be cleaned with non-alcohol swab (iodine, betadine, etc.) by ______ (Collector). 

__ Collection site used was new and not a preexisting IV site. 

__ Observed the entire blood draw procedure and that both tubes were inverted back and forth to mix the power with blood. 

__ Took custody of the blood collection tubes and placed it 

__ Blood was drawn at _________(Location) on __________(Date) at ___________(Time). 

__ Ensure Specimen Collector signed label and Blood Collection Report Card. 

__ One label applied to each tube of blood with two red integrity seals, placed the containers inside the plastic bags, and then secured it inside the Blood Kit cardboard box. 

__ Sealed box with two or more Evidence Seals and one piece of Evidence Tape. 

__ Placed Blood Kit inside Evidence bag, completed the Evidence Card / Label and completed Lab request Form for Blood Alcohol Level / Drug Screen. (Filled out correct Lab Request and submit at the time of collection. 

__ Blood Kit was placed inside a refrigerator or other appropriate depository. The key was placed inside a lock box


Independent Blood Test after a DUI Arrest

Although most people do not realize it, any person who submits to a chemical test at the request of law enforcement has the right to request an independent blood test. Florida law provides that the person subjected to testing after a DUI arrest may, at his or her own expense, have a physician, or any other qualified person of his or her own choosing, conduct an independent test in addition to a test administered at the direction of the arresting officer, for the purpose of determining the amount of alcohol in his or her blood.

The officer is not allowed to interfere with the person’s opportunity to obtain the independent test and shall provide the person with timely telephone access to secure the test, but the burden is on the person to arrange and secure the test at the person’s own expense. If the driver makes such a request and the officer interferes with the independent test then the results of the officer's test may be suppressed.

According to the standard operating procedures of the Florida Highway Patrol found at POLICY 17.06 - 13B.1.c-d, officers are trained to do the following:

c. A DUI suspect does not have the right to refuse to submit to a required chemical/physical test by demanding an independent test first. The member is required to assist the DUI suspect in obtaining an independent test as stated below (d), but ONLY after the suspect has complied with the test requested by the member.

d. Pursuant to Section 316.1932, Florida Statutes, the member shall not interfere with the suspect’s opportunity to obtain the independent test and shall provide the suspect with timely telephone access to secure the test, but the burden is on the suspect to arrange and secure the test at his/her own expense. The member is not obligated to provide transportation for the DUI suspect to obtain the independent test. If the suspect has been turned over to the sheriff’s office or corrections, it will be their responsibility to provide the suspect the assistance required by law to obtain an independent test. 

Officers following these standard operating procedures risk having the chemical test they initial secured suppressed unless they work hard to help the suspect secure the independent test. For this reason, it is to the driver's advantage to request an independent test.


Finding an Attorney for a Blood Test DUI Case

If you were charged with DUI in a case involving a blood test in or around Tampa or Plant City in Hillsborough County, FL, then call us at 813-250-0500 to discuss your case. Our DUI attorneys are experienced in fighting for the absolute best result and to exclude the result of any blood test in the case.

We also represent clients charged with driving under the influence and DUI causing property damage or bodily injury throughout the greater Tampa Bay area including St. Petersburg and Clearwater in Pinellas County, New Port Richey and Dade City in Pasco County, Lakeland, and Bartow in Polk County and Brooksville in Hernando County, FL.


This article was last updated by on Friday, March 3, 2017.