Understanding Chemical Testing Regulations In Florida DUI Cases
If police obtained a chemical test showing that your blood alcohol content was above the legal limit, you might assume you have no defense options. That isn’t true. The state of Florida has strict rules and regulations for chemical testing. Understanding those rules and their limitations is critical to mounting a strong defense strategy.
When you contact Jonathan B. Blecher, P.A., in Miami, you’ll be represented by an attorney with more than 30 years and over 3,000 cases of DUI defense experience. If you’ve been charged with DUI, I am ready to assess your charges, explain your legal options and protect your rights.
Working Backwards To Calculate Your Breath Alcohol Reading
A DUI stop can be a lengthy process. By the time you are arrested and given a formal breathalyzer test, a couple of hours may have passed. During that time, your body was processing whatever alcohol you had consumed, and the test result will be different from what it would have been when you were initially pulled over.
In order to secure a conviction, prosecutors need to determine what your breathalyzer reading would have been at the time of driving. This calculation is a process called “retrograde extrapolation.”
This isn’t an exact science, because your blood alcohol content and its rate of change are dependent upon a variety of factors that cannot all be controlled. These include:
- What you drank, how much of it you drank and over what period of time
- What time you started and stopped drinking in relation to when you were pulled over
- Your body weight
- Type and quantity of food you ate and when it was consumed
- How quickly your body metabolizes both food and alcohol
More specifics on blood, breath and urine testing regulations are described below.
Blood Tests In Florida
Under Florida’s implied consent law, every motor vehicle operator gives consent to submit chemical testing of their breath, blood or urine if they are suspected of driving under the influence. Police officers are allowed to use reasonable force to take a person’s blood sample if they refuse to give a breath test and are suspected of DUI.
When a blood sample is taken, it is tested via a process called gas chromatography. This compares the driver in question’s blood sample to a controlled sample that has reliable amounts of alcohol content. If a person is involved in an accident and their blood sample is taken at the hospital, it may be the only type of sample the prosecutor can use. These samples are taken from blood serum and are considered a less accurate measurement of BAC.
Florida Urine Testing Regulations
If a person is asked to give a urine sample to measure their BAC, the urine test is frequently administered incorrectly. When a urine sample must be taken, it requires the individual in question to completely empty their bladder and wait a minimum of 20 minutes before giving the urine sample. This will give more accurate results.
When a urinalysis is used to test BAC, the concentrations of alcohol are examined in water. As a result, the findings of these types of tests can be highly inflated, as the alcohol concentration in urine is nearly 1.33 times the alcohol concentration in a blood sample. Due to this factor, blood samples are considered more accurate BAC tests.
What Happens When Police Fail To Follow Testing Rules?
Testing requirements and protocols are set by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. When police deviate from the protocol, it calls the accuracy of the tests into question. A good DUI defense lawyer will typically file a motion to suppress evidence due to noncompliance with testing rules.