Blood Samples in Broward County DUI Arrests
Fort Lauderdale DUI Lawyer William Moore says that in the majority of DUI arrest cases, the substance the defendant is accused of being under the influence of is alcohol. If the law enforcement officer made a traffic stop for a reason such as a suspicious driving pattern — weaving and driving significantly lower than the posted speed limit, for instance — the officer would conduct a DUI investigation. Such an investigation typically includes requesting that the driver submit to field sobriety exercises and, if he does so, evaluating his performance. There is some evidence that suggests police officers, in general, tend to overestimate the intoxication level (if any) of drivers performing such exercises where they already suspect DUI. Whether or not the driver complies with roadside field sobriety tests, however, the officer will usually request that he or she submit to a breathalyzer test if there is reason to believe that the driver is intoxicated, notes Broward DUI attorney William Moore.
In some circumstances, the law enforcement officer may also request either a urine sample or a blood sample. Blood samples are not preferred due to their inherently invasive nature. Urine samples are often requested where the investigating law enforcement agent has a reason to suspect that the driver is under the influence of intoxicants other than, or in addition to, alcohol. For example, if a visibly impaired person blows a 0.00 reading on the breathalyzer, the officer may suspect the presence of Xanax, pain pills, sleeping pills, prescription medications, amphetamines, cocaine, or any number of other substances.
In situations where it is impractical to obtain a breath sample, the police and prosecution may rely on the results of a blood sample. However, there are very specific cases where this is permitted, and the state must follow numerous procedural guidelines. If a person is passed out following an accident with injuries and is en route to the hospital in an ambulance, a blood draw is the most practical method for ascertaining whether the driver was intoxicated. Blood draws cannot be required of the driver in most situations where a less invasive method would suffice.
That being said, a blood result is widely considered more accurate than the breathalyzer machine in terms of quantifying the amount of alcohol in a person’s system. Additionally, it is more accurate than urine in determining whether or not other substances are acting as intoxicating agents. This is because a urine test only shows what is in a person’s body, but does not demonstrate the level in one’s bloodstream, making it more difficult to show the likely effect the substance is having on a person at a given time.
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William Moore Criminal Defense