There are several ways in which law enforcement may seek to determine the blood alcohol level of someone suspected of drunk driving. The method that probably comes to mind for most Orlando area residents is a breath test, utilizing a breathalyzer. There are many reasons this test is commonly used including the fact that it can be administered at the scene. Other tests, such a urine or blood cannot be conducted on the scene.
Regardless of the manner in which the test is conducted, the results may be used at trial. Accordingly, it is not uncommon for criminal defense lawyers to do what they can to exclude that evidence. Recently, a Florida woman facing criminal charges tied to a death in a motor vehicle accident received good news. She learned that the results of a blood test performed following the crash will be excluded. The blood test indicated that the level of alcohol in her blood was more than twice the legal limit.
The reason for this exclusion is a failure on the part of Florida Highway Patrol to secure a warrant before administering the test. This decision is in line with a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision.
This is not the only thing regarding the woman’s state of intoxication that will not be allowed. The testimony of a trooper who performed a field sobriety test on the woman will also be excluded. The reason behind this exclusion is that the man does not have expert authority in the process.
Because the woman declined to take a breath test, no testimony regarding the matter will be allowed at trial.
It is easy to see how the exclusion of evidence such as this could have a positive impact on the outcome of the criminal case. How the case will be decided remains to be seen.
Source: NBC 2 News, “Blood test to be excluded in DUI motorcycle-dragging trial,” Nov 26, 2013