Blood tests are considered by many to be the most accurate of the three major chemical tests, but they are also the most invasive—which is why law enforcement usually must first obtain a warrant before conducting a blood draw. Unlike other methods of testing, results are not immediate and the State of Florida imposes strict guidelines on how blood tests must be administered in order for them to be lawful.

Because of the number of requirements involved, law enforcement generally uses blood tests only in certain circumstances. In most cases, blood tests are administered either with the consent of the alleged offender or when exigent circumstances provide an exception to the warrant requirement.

Attorney for DUI Blood Tests in Gainesville, FL

Were you recently arrested anywhere in north central Florida for DUI as the result of a blood test? You will want to immediately retain legal counsel. Contact Galigani Law Firm as soon as possible.

Our experienced criminal defense lawyers in Gainesville represent clients arrested for drunk driving in communities all over the greater Gainesville area, including Gilchrist County, Alachua County, Marion County, Levy County, and many others. Call (352) 375-0812 right now to have our attorneys provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free initial consultation.

Overview of DUI Blood Tests in Alachua County

Back to top

When Blood Tests Are Used in Gainesville DUI Cases

Blood tests are utilized in one of the following four scenarios:

  • An alleged offender voluntarily consents to a blood test;
  • Under Florida Statute § 316.1932(1)(c), when there is reasonable cause to believe an alleged offender was driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic beverages or chemical or controlled substances and “the administration of a breath or urine test is impractical or impossible;”
  • Under Florida Statute § 316.1933(1)(a), when a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a motor vehicle driven by or in the actual physical control of an alleged offender under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance, or any controlled substance has caused the death or serious bodily injury of a human being (police officers “may use reasonable force if necessary” to require such alleged offenders to submit to the administration of blood tests); or
  • Under Florida Statute § 316.1932(1)(f)2.b., when a health care provider providing medical care in a health care facility to a person injured in a motor vehicle crash becomes aware as a result of any blood test performed in the course of that medical treatment that the person’s blood-alcohol level meets or exceeds the legal limit, the health care provider may notify any law enforcement officer or law enforcement agency.

Back to top

Blood Test Procedures in Alachua County DUI Cases

Florida Statute § 316.1933(2)(a) establishes that the only people authorized to withdraw blood for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content thereof or the presence of chemical substances or controlled substances therein are:

  • Physicians;
  • Certified paramedics;
  • Registered nurses;
  • Licensed practical nurses;
  • Other personnel authorized by a hospital to draw blood; or
  • Duly licensed clinical laboratory directors, supervisors, technologists, or technicians, acting at the request of law enforcement officers.

Under Florida Administrative Rule 11D-8.012, the following procedures must be followed when blood is drawn in DUI cases:

  • Before collecting a sample of blood, the skin puncture area must be cleansed with an antiseptic that does not contain alcohol;
  • Blood samples must be collected in a glass evacuation tube that contains a preservative such as sodium fluoride and an anticoagulant such as potassium oxalate or ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA). Compliance with this section can be established by the stopper or label on the collection tube, documentation from the manufacturer or distributor, or other evidence;
  • Immediately after collection, the tube must be inverted several times to mix the blood with the preservative and anticoagulant;
  • Blood collection tubes must be labeled with the following information: name of person tested, date and time sample was collected, and initials of the person who collected the sample;
  • Blood samples need not be refrigerated if submitted for analysis within seven days of collection, or during transportation, examination or analysis. Blood samples must be otherwise refrigerated, except that refrigeration is not required subsequent to the initial analysis;
  • Blood samples must be hand-delivered or mailed for initial analysis within thirty days of collection, and must be initially analyzed within sixty days of receipt by the facility conducting the analysis. Blood samples which are not hand-delivered must be sent by priority mail, overnight delivery service, or other equivalent delivery service; and
  • Notwithstanding any requirements in Chapter 11D-8 of the Florida Administrative Code, any blood analysis results obtained, if proved to be reliable, shall be acceptable as a valid blood alcohol level.

One of the primary concerns in DUI cases involving blood testing is whether the blood draw was legally authorized. Even legal blood draws may be inadmissible in court if blood tests involved certain errors or oversights, such as a sample being taken by an unauthorized individual, the sample being improperly collected or stored, alcohol contamination of blood samples as the result of certain antiseptics, failure to sterilize medical equipment, failure to convert serum or plasma blood result to whole blood alcohol level, or decomposition of the sample.

Back to top

DUI Blood Test Resources in Florida

Missouri v. McNeely, 569 U.S. ___ (2013) — Tyler McNeely was stopped in October 2010 for allegedly speeding and crossing the centerline before failing field sobriety tests. He refused to submit to a portable breath test, a breath test at the police station, and a blood test at a nearby hospital, but the officer ordered a blood draw without the McNeely’s consent and arrested him for drunk driving after the results of the blood test showed a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.154 percent. A trial judge ruled in McNeely’s favor to suppress the results of the blood test and the Missouri Court of Appeals stated an intention to reverse, but the Missouri Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s decision before the United States Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Missouri Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision issued on April 17, 2013.

Birchfield v. North Dakota, 579 U.S. ___ (2016) — Birchfield consolidated three cases of men convicted for drunk driving: a North Dakota man who refused to submit to a blood test; a Minnesota man who refused to submit to a breath test; and another North Dakota man who submitted to a blood test that he was informed he had to agree to. In a 7-1 decision issued on June 23, 2016, the United States Supreme Court held that the Fourth Amendment permits warrantless breath tests incident to arrests for drunk driving but not warrantless blood tests. Justice Samuel Alito wrote, “Because breath tests are significantly less intrusive than blood tests and in most cases amply serve law enforcement interests, a breath test, but not a blood test, may be administered as a search incident to a lawful arrest for drunk driving. No warrant is needed in this situation.”

Back to top

Galigani Law Firm | Gainesville DUI Blood Test Defense Lawyer

If you were arrested for an alleged DUI offense as the result of a blood test in north central Florida, it is in your best interest to not say anything about your case until you have legal representation. Galigani Law Firm represents resident and visitors arrested in Union County, Columbia County, Baker County, Bradford County, and many surrounding areas of Gainesville.

Gainesville criminal defense attorney Dean Galigani has over two decades of experience. He can review your case and help you understand all of your legal options when you call (352) 375-0812 or fill out an online contact form to receive a free, confidential consultation.

Back to top