Vero Beach Ruling Allows Search Warrants for Blood Samples in DUI Cases

A Florida defense attorney requested that a judge suppress Vero Beach’s use of search warrants to take blood samples in drunk driving cases, and according to a court order, the county judge refused his request. The issue came about late last year, when city police officers began using search warrants for drivers who refused to take a Breathalyzer test.

After two people were arrested, the DUI defense lawyer filed a court challenge, arguing that blood could not be deemed property that is subject to search warrants. The first time a driver refuses a Breathalyzer test, the state of Florida can take away the person’s license for a year. A second refusal is a criminal offense and subjects the driver to a jail sentence of up to a year.

However, a US Department of Transportation report from 2008 shows that an estimated 40% of people refuse a Breathalyzer test, making Florida the third highest state in the nation for people allegedly driving drunk and refusing a Breathalyzer test. The national average is around 22%.

Source: Ruling means Vero Beach can still use warrants to get blood samples in DUI cases, South Florida Sen Sentinel, February 1, 2010
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