If you were charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Florida, you were likely asked to take a breathalyzer or another chemical test. Chemical tests are commonly used by law enforcement officials to determine the amount of alcohol or drugs a driver has in their system. However, the results of these tests are not infallible. At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., we examine every aspect of chemical testing administered in a DUI case for potential flaws. Our St. Petersburg DUI attorneys can fight to throw out unreliable test results and work to mitigate the impact of a chemical test or a DUI refusal.Chemical Testing in Florida DUI Cases
In Florida, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher, regardless of driving ability or physical tolerance. A chemical test of a person’s breath, urine, or blood can verify the presence of alcohol or drugs in their system and/or measure their BAC level. As a result, chemical tests play a central role in many DUI cases. Although chemical testing is based on medicine and science, the results may not be reliable in every case. A combination of variables may affect their accuracy, including human and mechanical errors.
When a driver is pulled over for suspected first-time or repeat drunk driving, a portable breath screening device may be used to detect the presence of alcohol on the driver’s breath. A preliminary breath screen, however, is not considered a chemical test. Nevertheless, the breath screen may give the police officer probable cause for a DUI arrest. In most cases, the driver is then taken to a police station or sheriff’s office for a chemical test. The driver may refuse the test, but will likely face penalties for violating Florida’s implied consent law.
A chemical breath test, or breathalyzer test, analyzes a breath sample provided by the driver and calculates the driver’s BAC level. Depending on the facts of a specific case, there may be several reasons to oppose the results of a breathalyzer test. For example, the defense may object if the person who administered the test was not qualified to do so, or argue that the driver had a medical condition that affected the results, or show that the breathalyzer device was not properly calibrated or maintained. In some situations, the defense may also argue that the results are inadmissible due to police misconduct or constitutional violations.
A urine test can detect the presence of illegal drugs and prescription medications, but is generally not appropriate for measuring BAC levels. A blood test to determine the amount of alcohol or a controlled substance in the driver’s system may be permitted under limited circumstances. Most blood test DUI cases arise out of situations where a breath or urine test is not possible, such as after a DUI accident or when the driver is taken to the hospital. Generally, the police have no right to take a blood draw without the driver’s consent or a warrant. When appropriate, the defense may argue that a defendant’s blood test results should be excluded due to the lack of voluntary consent or warrant. Other grounds for objection may be that the blood was not collected by a qualified person, the blood evidence kit was not handled or transported in the manner required by Florida regulations, the blood was not tested pursuant to an approved method, or other circumstances that cast doubt on the reliability of the test results.Discuss Chemical Testing with a DUI Attorney in St. Petersburg
At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., our DUI lawyers understand the limits of breathalyzer and other chemical test results. We can provide diligent representation in St. Petersburg to protect your rights in a drunk or drugged driving case, even if you believe you have no defense against the charges or if you are facing a repeat offense charge. We can assist drivers in Tampa Bay, Clearwater, and many other locations in Pinellas County. Request an appointment with an experienced DUI defense attorney by calling Blake & Dorsten, P.A at (727) 286-6141 or completing our online form today.