Florida Blood Testing Procedure

In Florida, there are strict guidelines as to how blood tests may be performed on any given day. These are outlined under Florida Administrative Code Chapter 11D-8. For example, it is explained that before the blood test is given, the technician must cleanse the area with a solution that does not contain any trace of alcohol; this is different from routine blood tests as any alcohol-based cleanser could potentially contaminate the test. It is also specified that whoever takes the sample must be properly trained and/or certified; for example, it could be done by a physician, paramedic, or someone authorized by the hospital. Storing the blood must be done in a glass tube that contains the correct amount of preservatives and anticoagulant to ensure the sample is not contaminated. Immediately following the drawing/storing of the blood, the technician must invert it to properly mix it with the preservatives and anticoagulants within the tube.

It must then be labeled with the name of the person, the date and time when the sample was taken, and the name of the person who took it. If the sample is going to be analyzed within seven days, it must be refrigerated. Within 30 days of the sample being taken, it is required that it is hand-delivered or mailed for analysis. If mailed, it must be done overnight, priority or an equivalent.

Regarding Implied Consent

The Florida Implied Consent Law under Florida Statutes §316.1932 (2012) explains that any person who is legally allowed to drive in the state has given their consent to submit to any chemical or field test to determine their blood alcohol level. Put simply, if you have a driver's license and are pulled over during a traffic stop, you do not have the right to "refuse" the breath or blood test if the officer has reason to believe that you have been driving under the influence. If you do refuse, it could be considered admissible in the court of law as evidence; should it be done two or more times, it is a first degree misdemeanor.

If you have been involved in a DUI accident that resulted in either serious bodily injury or the death of another person, law enforcement is permitted to forcefully withdraw blood. Even if you refuse the test, the officer has the right to use reasonable force. If you are unconscious after the accident, the law permits that you have not withdrawn your consent and therefore a blood test may be lawfully administered - even if you were not told of your rights or the fact that failure to submit would result in a driver's license suspension.

Common Flaws of the Blood Test

Although more accurate than field sobriety, there are still errors that can occur during blood tests that can allow for a defense attorney to attack on your behalf. The first is the possibility that the blood has been somehow contaminated. As explained above, Florida law is specific on washing the draw spot with a cleanser that does not contain any alcohol. What if there was a mix-up? What if something as simple as swabbing your arm with an alcohol-based solution resulted in a faulty reading that showed a BAL way above the legal limit?

Second, your attorney could look into the possibility of a broken chain of custody. If there was a mix-up with the labeling, delivery or handling of the blood, it could potentially cause your name to go one someone else's vial or for you to be handed the results of someone else's test. Third, if the blood was not properly stored or not properly mixed with the proper preservatives and anticoagulants, it is possible that the blood could become fermented; this could completely throw off the reading of the sample and result in "bad blood."

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At Thomas & Paulk, one of our primary focuses is on the defense of DUI charges. In fact, we are recognized throughout the Tampa area as one of the premier DUI defense law firms. Our team is well-versed in this area of the law and has a wide-expanse of experience in helping our clients fight against such charges.

It doesn’t matter if this is your first offense or your third, you can count on our firm to protect your legal rights. Often, our defense starts with recounting with you how the police officer came to stop you in the first place and how he or she came to believe you may be under the influence of alcohol. If the stop was illegal, or the tests were improperly administered, we may be able to argue for the dismissal of that evidence in court, helping your chances of a dropped charge.

If you would like to learn more about how our team can help, contact us today.

  • If you're arrested for DUI, you only have 10 days to schedule a DMV hearing where you can fight to save your license.

  • A blood alcohol reading of 0.15% or more can warrant an aggravated DUI charge with harsher penalties.

  • Each year, Hillsborough County issues around 4,000 DUI citations. Out of these, more than 3,000 are found guilty.

  • Per Florida's zero-tolerance policy, anyone under the age of 21 who tests positive for any measurable blood alcohol can be charged with DUI.

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