In Florida when a person is suspected of DUI Manslaughter or DUI causing serious bodily injury the police can use reasonable force to get a blood sample to test. A blood test can only be obtained when there is probable cause to believe the driver is under the influence and caused a serious bodily injury or death. This includes serious bodily injury to the driver. Law enforcement DOES NOT have authority to force a blood test or blood draw in a plain DUI, DUI with property damage or DUI with bodily injury.
On January 9 the United States Supreme Court heard argument in the case of Missouri v. McNeely. (Link to Reuters article) In that DUI case there were no injuries or death yet the State of Missouri forced a blood test regardless. The Missouri Supreme Court suppressed the blood and the State appealed. Mr. McNeely had refused the breathalyzer. In Florida if you refuse to provide a breath sample, your license will be suspended but you can challenge the suspension. In a case like McNeely the blood test should be suppressed in Florida as well.
Missouri argued that a warrant should not be necessary in case where there was no death and no serious bodily injury. The State's argument was essentially that the evidence is dissipating with every minute that passes, in other words, your body is destroying evidence.
This ignores the fact that in most cases that are neither a DUI Manslaughter nor DUI serious bodily injury, there is not medical personnel on the scene. With serious injury or death there is at least one paramedic team present. Therefore, when a case is not DUI manslaughter or DUI serious bodily injury, there is going to be some delay regardless. There would be a delay in collecting blood in either transporting a driver to a hospital or waiting for a paramedic. In my opinion, if a State is going to allow a warrant to be issued to force a blood test in a DUI, then that delay time should be used to apply for a warrant.
Any traffic case causing death or serious bodily injury is a serious case, if you or a loved one is accused of any traffic violation causing death or serious bodily injury including DUI manslaughter or DUI serious bodily injury, then click or call today for more information.