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DUI Urine & Blood Tests

Law enforcement typically analysis a driver’s breath to measure their blood-alcohol concentration (BAC). However, in some cases, a police officer may resort to a blood or urine tests if they suspect a driver is impaired by drugs.

Blood and urine testing have produced misleading results in the past. The medical procedures of obtaining a sample must be done meticulously. If a sample is contaminated or the equipment isn’t maintained, the results could be skewed. This is why it’s imperative that you’re aware of what may happen if an officer asks you to submit to chemical testing.

DUI Attorney for Urine and Blood Tests in Melbourne, FL

Not all results from blood or urine testing can be trusted. The chemical testing process isn’t flawless and can be subject to human error. If you or someone you know has refused or submitted to blood or urine testing, it’s imperative that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Driving under the influence (DUI) can lead to severe consequences. You may have your license suspended, pay large fines and even face possible incarceration. Any person who’s been charged with a DUI should contact the attorney at The Law Offices of Bryan J. McCarthy.

The Law Offices of Bryan J. McCarthy is a firm that has a strong focus in criminal defense. We have years of experience handling DUI cases in the Florida criminal courts. With our knowledge, resources and skills we can formulate a strong defense for you. No case is too big for us. Call the attorney and schedule a free consultation today.

The Law Offices of Bryan J. McCarthy practices law throughout the greater Melbourne area and surrounding communities including Satellite Beach, Palm Bay, Titusville, Cocoa and Cocoa Beach.

Overview of Urine and Blood Tests in Florida

  • When Will a Police Officer Ask for a Blood or Urine Test?
  • Florida Implied Consent Warning
  • Issues with Urinalysis
  • Issues with Blood Analysis
  • Should I Say No to DUI Testing?
  • Additional Resources

When Will a Police Officer Ask for a Blood or Urine Test?

Most officers use breath analysis with tools like a breathalyzer to measure BAC. However, if the officer has probable cause and the breathalyzer doesn’t yield the right results they may defer to blood or urine testing. Usually, this is because the officer believes the driver is impaired on illegal drugs rather than alcohol.

Florida Statute § 316.1932 states that drivers who have been lawfully arrested can be subject to urinalysis. Most urine tests are conducted after a breath analysis. The medical procedures aren’t as invasive as blood testing. Once the testing is finished the sample will be sent to a state or private crime lab for analysis. Urine tests aren’t always reliable. Many have reported contaminated samples or misinterpreted results during urinalysis.

Blood tests are the most accurate of the three chemical tests. However, it’s considered the most invasive. Similar to urine testing, an officer usually asks for a blood draw after a failed breath analysis. There are other scenarios, though, where a driver may be subject to blood testing.

Florida law states that law enforcement can do a “forced blood draw.” Florida Statute § 316.1933(1)(a) allows blood draws without consent if the officer has “reasonably trustworthy information” that the driver was intoxicated during a DUI accident where serious bodily injury or death occurred. An officer can even use reasonable force in very limited circumstances.

A blood test can also be obtained from a health care provider. If a medical professional performs a routine blood test after an accident that shows high blood-alcohol levels, they may notify law enforcement. Even if you were the only one injured in the accident you may still be charged with a DUI.

Florida’s Implied Consent Warning

Officers who have probable cause can ask a driver to submit to testing. Drivers are allowed to refuse chemical testing at any time. However, they may be forced to face administrative consequences. Implied consent laws state that drivers who refuse testing may have their license suspended.

Implied consent laws state that any person who drives on Florida public roads is thereby giving their consent to DUI testing by law enforcement. Police officers are required to inform the driver of the possible consequences for the refusal. Choosing to refuse chemical testing may result in administrative penalties which includes:

  • 6-month license suspension for the first offense; or
  • 18-month license suspension for the second offense.

Problems with Urine Testing in Florida

Urinalysis isn’t the most dependable way to measure BAC. Urine can detect substances that was consumed days or even weeks ago. As a result, it can be extremely difficult to obtain an uncontaminated sample. In fact, the skewed results may reinforce the prosecution’s case even if you were completely sober for the stop.

Many substances can stay in your system long after they’ve been ingested. Listed below are some detection times for common controlled substances:

Type of Drug: Detection Time
Cocaine One day
Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) One day
MDMA, Ecstasy, or Molly Two days
Ketamine Two days
Codeine Three Days
Amphetamine Three Days
Hydrocodone Three Days
Fentanyl Three Days
Methamphetamine Three Days
Oxycodone Three Days
Morphine Three Days
Flunitrazepam Five Days
Moderate Marijuana Use Five Days
Methadone Seven Days
Phencyclidine (PCP Eight days
Diazepam 10 days
Marijuana Daily Use 10 days
Marijuana Chronic Use 30 days

Past drug use isn’t the only thing that can misrepresent a sample. Lab technicians or police officers can make human errors that lead to false positives. Some of these errors include, but are not limited to:

  • Expired testing kits;
  • Faulty testing kits;
  • Sample isn’t stored properly;
  • Diluted samples;
  • Contaminated samples;
  • Badly read results;
  • Issues with sealing the sample; or
  • Tampering with samples.

Problems with Blood Analysis in Florida

Blood testing may be the most reliable test, but it still comes with errors. Many people have had false positives because of testing mistakes. While lab technicians and doctors are trained thoroughly trained, many things can still go wrong. The following are some mistakes during lab procedures that may lead to skewed results.

  • Issues drawing blood;
  • Blood was taken from an artery not a vein;
  • Issues preserving the blood sample;
  • Failing to take two samples;
  • Problems with storing the sample;
  • Old or poorly maintained equipment;
  • Issues with re-calibrating test results;
  • Contaminated samples; or
  • No clear timeline that shows who touched the sample (also known as a “chain of custody”).

Should I Refuse Blood or Urine Testing for a DUI in Florida?

The big question now is this: should I submit to blood or urine analysis? The answer is, it’s up to you. Blood or urine testing is not a perfect process. Lab procedures are complicated, and you may already have something in your system that leads to misleading results. It’s possible that you have a false positive even if you’re completely sober.

However, if you refuse testing you must face administrative penalties. Your license will be automatically be suspended for some time because of the refusal. You still have other options though. If you hire an attorney, you may be allowed to request an Administrative License Revocation hearing (ALR). Your attorney can collect evidence and fight for your driving privileges in court. Take note; you must file a request for an ALR within 15 days of your DUI.

There are other consequences if you submit to chemical testing. If your results read a BAC over .08, the officer can arrest and charge you with a DUI. The penalties associated with a DUI include:

  • Up to six months in jail;
  • A possible fine between $500 and $1,000;
  • Up to 12 months of probation;
  • License suspension up to six months;
  • Possible impoundment of motor vehicle for up to 10 days;
  • Participation in DUI School;
  • Possible requirement of an ignition interlock device.

It’s important to note that these penalties are for a first-time DUI conviction. Those with prior convictions or cases with aggravating factors may have enhanced penalties.

Submitting to testing can be beneficial. If you have no substances in your system and the tests go flawless you are free to go. However, an attorney may warn you against it. Fighting a license suspension is much easier than handling statutory penalties. Additionally, if you refuse testing the prosecution will have no concrete evidence against you. It may seem overwhelming now to say no to a police officer, but it may be worth it in the end.

Additional Resources

Florida DUI and Suspension Laws – Visit the official website for the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) and find more information about administrative penalties for a DUI. Learn the penalties for a DUI such as fines, impoundment, imprisonment and conditions of release.

Urine Drug Testing: Approaches to Screening and Confirmation Testing – View a 2004 report by the Laboratory Medicine journal to learn more about urinalysis issues. The report outlines the disadvantages of drug testing and how long controlled substances can stay in your system.

Lawyer for DUI Blood and Urine Tests in Brevard County, Florida

If you or someone you know has refused or submitted to DUI testing, it’s crucial that you contact an experienced defense attorney. Your sample could be contaminated, or human error could cause misleading results. Contact the attorney at The Law Offices of Bryan J. McCarthy now for trusted legal representation.

The attorney at The Law Offices of Bryan J. McCarthy has years of experience defending those accused of a DUI. Additionally, we thoroughly understand blood and urine analysis procedures. Our attorney can use his resources to get you the best possible result for your case. Call now to schedule a free consultation today.

The Law Offices of Bryan J. McCarthy defends those accused of a DUI throughout the greater Brevard County area including surrounding counties such as Volusia County and Indian River County.