In the state of Florida, everyone who has been lawfully arrested under suspicion of drunk or drugged driving is required by law to submit to a chemical test. This test can be either a breath test, a blood test or in some rare cases a urine test. All chemical testing instruments are to be inspected and registered with the Alcohol Testing Program through the Department of Law Enforcement. This department is also responsible for certifying individuals to operate these instruments.
In most DUI cases, the suspect will be asked to submit to a breath test. A suspect might be asked to submit to a blood test if law enforcement believes that they are under the influence of drugs, since breath testing devices are not designed to detect the presence of ethanol from alcohol and not drugs. When suspects cannot take a blood test, either for a medical or other reason, then they could be asked to submit to a urine test (§ 316.1932(2) Florida Statutes).
There are additional regulations for the blood test in particular. According to § 316.1933(1)(c), if an individual consents to take a blood test, only a person who is a physician or registered nurse can administer the test. If any other unqualified individual administers the blood test then the blood sample may later be declared invalid.
Every individual who has been arrested under suspicion of drunk/drugged driving in the state of Florida has the right to independent testing at their own cost and expense. It may be wise for a DUI suspect to get a second opinion from a qualified professional, because it could make the difference between a conviction and dropped/reduced charges.
At any time, upon request, an individual (or their attorney) who has been tested may request full information regarding the results of that test. Chemical testing information that may be requested includes: 1) the type of test that was administered and the procedures that were followed, 2) the time the blood or breath sample was analyzed, 3) the numerical results of that test, 4) the testing permit from the Department of Law Enforcement of the person who performed the test, and 5) the date of the most recent inspection of the breath testing device (if applicable).
Refusing a breath, blood or chemical test after a lawful arrest is against the law. A first-time chemical test refusal can warrant a one-year license suspension. If the suspect refuses a breath test for the second or subsequent time within a five-year period then they could face an 18-month license suspension according to § 316.1932(a). If you or someone you care about has recently been arrested for a DUI, do not hesitate to contact a Tampa DUI lawyer at Taracks & Associates today!