Have you recently been charged with a DUI and were asked to give a blood sample? Maybe you did, or maybe you refused, but chances are you are wondering if this is legal and/or necessary. The truth is that if you have a license, you are expected to comply with such a request, or suffer the consequences. Only an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney can evaluate the specific facts and circumstances surrounding your blood draw; however, a general understanding of the law is always helpful.
Driving under the influence (DUI) can be defined as operating a motor vehicle while impaired with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher. Impairments might also be the result of a chemical substance, or a controlled substance under the same charge. This charge may also be referred to as drunk driving, or driving while intoxicated (DWI).
Florida law 316.1932 – Tests for alcohol, chemical substances, or controlled substances; implied consent; refusal is where the Florida laws relating to blood draws during a DUI are found. In short, the Florida implied consent law states that if you have accepted a driver’s license and the laws that come with it, then you have already consented to any breath, urine, or blood test, in the event of an accident, or when probable cause for your arrest exists. Of course, you can still refuse, but not without consequences. These include license suspension of one year for the first refusal, fines between $500 and $5000 depending on the number of offenses, and evidence to be used against you in court, as refusal implies guilt. While the consequences for refusal are less than that of the actual DUI conviction, a second refusal comes with an 18-month license suspension, fines, and jail time, and it is now a misdemeanor.
If your DUI charge included an accident, the blood draw was likely forced upon you. This changes the option of choice in refusing the blood test. If the driver is seriously injured, unconscious, or has died, a forced blood draw is acceptable to determine intoxication and its probability in the cause of the accident. Sometimes, however, if the driver is not injured or dead, the Florida Statute Section 316.1933(1)(a) provides for blood draws taken by force when probable cause exist that the driver simply caused a crash involving serious bodily injury or death of another. Warrants done on short notice can be issued to accomplish a forced blood draw as well if the offense is considered a felony. “Force” means that they can literally hold you down and draw blood, but again, the circumstances must warrant it.