Raising BAL Questions in Defense of Drivers Suspected of DUI

In the quiver prosecutors carry into driving under the influence cases, the arrow of blood alcohol test results is often the most feared by Florida drivers charged with drunk driving, and for good reason. Often, evidence that a driver's blood alcohol level was above the legal limit of .08 at the time of arrest for suspected DUI presents a hurdle that is difficult to overcome.
In 2000, a driver arrested for allegedly driving drunk took concerns over the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's BAL testing all the way to the Florida Supreme Court — concerns that the FDLE's rules for blood testing were inadequate. Ultimately, the court agreed with the driver. In response to the ruling, the Orlando Sentinel reported that the FDLE changed its blood test rules by making them more "specific."
Yet, some attorneys believe the concerns about how the FDLE conducts and handles blood tests still exist, even after the change 10 years ago. In an article addressing the subject, the Orlando Sentinel writes that attorneys still have doubts about the FDLE's process of collecting/drawing, transporting and storing blood samples — even the equipment used by the FDLE has been questioned.
And, getting the court to agree that there are concerns with the FDLE's blood test methodology could be one of the most important arrows in the quivers of the DUI defense attorneys of drivers accused of drunk driving.

DUI Penalties
The state of Florida takes drunk driving very seriously, and even the penalties for a first DUI are steep; they only increase for subsequent offenses. Penalties faced by drivers convicted of their first DUI include:

  • Fines of between $5,00 and $1,000 ($1,000 to $2,000 if the BAL is .15 or higher)
  • Mandatory 50 hours of community service, or pay a fine of $10 per community service hour
  • Up to one year of probation
  • Up to six months in jail (up to nine months if BAL is .15 or higher)
  • Vehicle impoundment of 10 days

In addition to the criminal penalties, the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles will administratively suspend driver's licenses. There is a small 10-day window from the time of the arrest for suspected DUI to fight the suspension in an administrative hearing. And, even if drivers are found innocent of DUI, the DMV suspension of driving privileges may not be reversed.
If you have been arrested on the suspicion of drunk driving, fill your quiver with as many arrows in your defense as possible by speaking with an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney.