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Urine Test for DUI Cases

The urine test is used for the purpose of detecting the presence of chemical or controlled substances after a DUI arrest. The request for the urine test must be incidental to a lawful arrest and only when the officer has reasonable cause of impairment from a chemical or controlled substance. In many cases, the officer will request the urine test after the results of a DUI suspect’s breath-alcohol test are below .06. That request for a urine test is only allowed, however, if the officer actually has reasonable cause to believe that the driver was impaired by drugs.

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If you were arrested for DUI and asked to submit to a urine test, then contact an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm. We are experienced in fighting DUI cases involving a urine test in Tampa, Hillsborough County, FL, and the surrounding areas throughout Tampa Bay. The most common substance detected in the urine is THC or a metabolite after the consumption of marijuana.

It is also common to find evidence that the driver consumed some prescription medication prior to driving. To be admissible at trial, the urine test must show not just the presence of the substance, but it must also quantify the amount and type of substance found which must be coupled with expert testimony that results of the urine test indicate impairment at the time of driving.

In many of these cases, the chemical test results are not admissible at trial, making these cases very difficult for the prosecution. Never enter a plea to DUI if the evidence against you is the urine test until after you have seen the lab report and spoken to an experienced lawyer about possible defenses. Call 813-250-0500 to discuss the best way to fight your criminal charges for driving under the influence of a chemical or controlled substance.


Urine Tests and Florida's Implied Consent

Florida law provides that any person who accepts the privilege of driving in the State of Florida is, by so operating a vehicle in this state, deemed to have given his or her consent to submit to a urine test for the purpose of detecting the presence of chemical or controlled substances under certain circumstances.

Those circumstances require that the person first be placed under arrest for driving or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of chemical substances or controlled substances. Before the arresting officer can request a urine test, the law enforcement officer must have "reasonable cause" to believe that the person was under the influence of a chemical or controlled substance. § 316.1932(1)(a), Fla. Stat.

Florida law does not provide a presumption of impairment with a urine test. “[U]nlike a breath or blood test which determines alcohol content, a level of impairment cannot be extrapolated from a drug concentration detected in a urine sample. In other words, it would be very difficult to conclude that a person was under the influence of a particular drug to the point that his or her normal faculties were impaired at the time of his or her arrest based solely on the presence of the drug in the person's urine.” Bodden, 877 So.2d at 689.

The presence of drugs in the urine found by the urine test results is one relevant factor in determined whether a specific individual was impaired. Based upon the simpler methodology in administering a urine test, along with its less intrusive nature, and the absence of any presumptions regarding impairment, the courts in Florida have concluded that the application of the "reasonable cause" standard to a request for a urine test would be consistent with the legislative intent and purpose of section 316.1932, Fla. Stat.


Purpose of Urine Testing in DUI Cases

The purpose of the urine test is to detect the presence of chemical or controlled substances, either directly or through the presence of the metabolites of the chemical or controlled substances. 

In many ways, a urine test is less intrusive than blood testing. The urine test must be administered at a detention facility or any other facility, mobile or otherwise, that is equipped to administer such tests in a reasonable manner. 

The manner of administering the urine test must ensure the accuracy of the urine specimen and maintain the privacy of the individual involved.


Lack of Formal Rule Promulgation for Urine Tests in DUI Cases

Unlike a breath or blood test, the methods for conducting urine tests are not required by the implied consent statute to be “approved” through Administrative Procedure Act (APA) rule promulgation. See State v. Bodden, 877 So. 2d 680 (Fla. 2004). 

The prosecutor will argue that despite the lack of formal rule promulgation, the urine test results are admissible under Florida's implied consent laws. The prosecutor will argue that the urine test results may be admitted into evidence during a trial so long as the State lays the proper common law predicate, which includes a determination that the testing methods utilized are reliable. Id.

On the other hand, the defense attorney will often argue that the results of the urine test should be suppress as inaccurate and unreliable. The defense attorney will often argue that the results might show prior use of the chemical or controlled substance, but shed little light on whether the person was impaired from the substance at the time of driving.


Procedures for Urine Testing in Florida

For DUI cases in Hillsborough County, the urine test is collected using the urine collection kit provided at the Central Breath Testing (CBT) Facility at the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

The arresting officer (or another designated Detention Deputy) will observe the person while the person provides the sample in the restroom at CBT or another facility. The sample must be provided in the presence of a Law Enforcement Officer or Detention Deputy.

The plastic bag containing the labeled urine sample and the completed “FDLE Toxicology Services Request Form” must be placed in the cardboard mailer box.

The arresting officer will then charge the person with the DUI offense using a Florida Uniform Traffic Citation. On the citation, the officer will make a notation that the DUI charge is “Pending Urine Results.”

Thereafter, the officer must deliver, as soon as possible, the urine sample to the Evidence Control Section for refrigerated storage. The Criminal Investigations Division will assign a detective who will be responsible for forwarding the urine sample to FDLE for analysis and for receiving the results once the analysis is completed.


Finding a DUI Defense Attorney for a Urine Test Case in Tampa, FL

The DUI attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm are experienced in fighting to exclude the urine test results in different types of DUI cases throughout the Tampa Bay area, including the courthouses in Tampa and Plant City, FL. Call a criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm today to discuss your case.

This article was last updated by on Thursday, September 29, 2016.

Urine Testing