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Request for an Independent DUI Test

Florida Statute Section 316.1932(1)(f)(3) provides that a person who submits to a chemical test of his blood, breath, or urine may secure an independent test at his or her own expense. The law enforcement officer is not allowed to interfere with the person’s right to obtain the independent test. The failure to make the accommodation would result in the suppression of the results at trial from the test requested by the officer.

If you submitted to a breath test and believe the breath test reading is higher than you would expect then securing the blood test will be critical to your defense. If the officer makes a mistake in complying with your demand for an independent test then it may lead to the suppression of your breath test results. If your case goes to trial the fact that you demanded an independent blood test but were unable to obtain one might be powerful evidence that you believed you were innocent and that the breathalyzer did not work in your case.

If you were arrested for DUI by an officer with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, the Florida Highway Patrol, or another local agency in Broward County, then contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Meltzer & Bell. We are experienced in fighting DUI cases throughout Broward County. We know the tactics used by local law enforcement agencies. Let us put our experience to work for you.

Call (954) 765-6585 today for a free consultation to discuss your case.

Independent Test under Florida Statute Section 316.1932(1)(f)(3)

Florida Statute Section 316.1932(1)(f)(3) provides:

The person tested may, at his or her own expense, have a physician, registered nurse, other personnel authorized by a hospital to draw blood, or duly licensed clinical laboratory director, supervisor, technologist, or technician, or other person of his or her own choosing administer an independent test in addition to the test administered at the direction of the law enforcement officer for the purpose of determining the amount of alcohol in the person’s blood or breath or the presence of chemical substances or controlled substances at the time alleged, as shown by chemical analysis of his or her blood or urine, or by chemical or physical test of his or her breath.

The failure or inability to obtain an independent test by a person does not preclude the admissibility in evidence of the test taken at the direction of the law enforcement officer. The law enforcement officer shall not interfere with the person’s opportunity to obtain the independent test and shall provide the person with timely telephone access to secure the test, but the burden is on the person to arrange and secure the test at the person’s own expense.

Independent Testing Procedures of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department

According to the standard operating procedures published by the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, the officer must take certain steps to accommodate a person’s request for an independent blood test after a DUI arrest. The procedures were last revised in October of 2013. In cases where an officer makes an arrest for DUI the suspect may request a separate, independent test of their blood, urine or breath, for the purpose of determining the amount of alcohol in the person’s blood or breath or the presence of chemical substances or control substances to attempt to refute any results obtained by the required blood, breath or urine testing.

Should such a request be made, the following procedures will be followed:

  • If the suspect has refused a breath, blood, or urine test, it is the position of the Broward County State Attorney’s Office that based on Florida Statutes and current case law; they have no right to an independent test, as they have not provided a required test to compare any independent results against, for refutation purposes.
  • The suspect will be informed that all additional tests will be performed at the suspect’s expense.
  • If the suspect still desires the independent testing be performed, and has previously provided a valid breath test, blood test and/or urine sample, the suspect will be transported to the facility of their choice, provided the facility has the ability to administer the test, and is reasonably convenient.
  • The facility must have the ability to draw, test and store any independent tests as this agency will not be responsible for handling this type of independent evidence.
  • The facility must provide all necessary equipment for the taking of the sample. No test kits will be provided by the Fort Lauderdale Police Department.
  • The facility must be willing to accept payment from the suspect or be willing to bill the suspect for the tests performed, and must agree that the City of Fort Lauderdale, the Fort Lauderdale Police Department and the officer will not be held liable or responsible for any expenses associated with the testing.
  • The facility must be prepared to perform the test within a reasonable amount of time, so as not to unnecessarily delay the officer’s return to duty.

Following the independent testing procedure, should one be performed, the suspect will be transported back to the FLPD prisoner intake processing area.

The written procedures for the independent test provide that If circumstances beyond the control of the arresting officer make the request for an independent test unreasonable, the request for such testing may then be denied. If such a request is made by a suspect, the request will be documented in the police report, including whatever actions are taken to meet that request, or the reasons for which the request is denied. These reasons might include the fact that no facility in the area was available, no facility in the area was willing to perform the test, or no medical staff available. The Fort Lauderdale Police Department will not allow paramedics to be used to draw blood as a result of a request for independent testing as they have no means of storing, testing or maintaining custody of samples.

If the request is granted, the officer will obtain the name, address and telephone number of the person who physically draws the suspect’s sample, along with the time the sample was taken. Any statements made by that person or by the suspect during this time will be noted, and all of this information will be included in the report.

If a camera is available, the officer may photograph the blood kit used, once it is sealed. This photograph may be placed into evidence, but under no circumstances will the officer take custody of any independent blood or urine test kits or samples.

Finding an Experienced DUI Defense Attorney in Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Other agencies throughout Broward County have their own procedures and policies for dealing with a request for an independent blood test including Broward County Sheriff’s Office, the Metro Broward DUI Task Force, the Florida Highway Patrol, the Florida Alcohol Beverage and Tobacco and police departments from Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale, Lauderhill, Coral Springs, Sunrise, Plantation, Davie and Wilton Manors.

If you were arrested for DUI in Broward County, FL, and requested an independent blood test then contact the criminal defense attorneys at Meltzer & Bell to discuss your case. Find out how we can put our experience to work for you. Call (954) 765-6585 today to discuss your case.

This article was last updated on Monday, January 4, 2016.

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