DUI Urine Test
Driving an automobile in Florida is a privilege, not a right. Therefore, when a police officer has probable cause to arrest a driver for driving under the influence of a chemical substance or a controlled substance, he or she can ask the driver to give a urine sample to detect the presence of these substances. The driver does not have the right to refuse, only an option to refuse. By having a driver’s license, the driver has agreed to give consent to a urine test upon a lawful arrest for driving under the influence of a chemical substance or a controlled substance.
The officer’s probable cause for the DUI arrest is based on the officer’s observations. The officer will look for a driving pattern indicative of impairment (failing to maintain a single lane, swerving, weaving, etc.), restlessness, body tremors, grinding teeth, droopy eyelids, odor of marijuana, slurred speech, fumbling of the driver’s license, difficulty getting out of the car, poor performance on field sobriety exercises and many other indicators of impairment to establish probable cause for the arrest. The officer just has to have a reasonable belief that the driver’s normal faculties are impaired by alcohol, controlled substances or chemical substances, or that the driver has a breath or blood alcohol level of .08 or higher to make the arrest for any DUI. The officer does not have to be 100% certain that the driver is under the influence to make an arrest. The urine test is administered to confirm the police officer’s belief that the driver was under the influence of a chemical substance or a controlled substance, and to make the State’s case stronger if the results of the test show the presence these substances.
Pursuant to Florida Statute 316.1932(1)(a)(1)b, certain procedures must be followed during the administration of a urine test:
- The urine test must be given incidental to a lawful arrest. If the officer didn’t have probable cause to make the arrest, or if the driver was detained for too long absent reasonable suspicion that a crime had occurred, then an argument can be made that the arrest was not lawful. If the arrest was not lawful, then any evidence gathered as a result of the arrest (results of a breath, blood or urine sample) would likely be suppressed or inadmissible at trial. An illegal arrest or prolonged detention may lead to a dismissal of the case.
- The urine test may only be given at the request of a police officer who has a reasonable belief that the driver was driving under the influence of a controlled substance or a chemical substance.
- The urine test must be administered at a detention facility or any other facility, mobile or otherwise, which is equipped to administer a urine test in a reasonable manner that will ensure the accuracy of the sample and secure the individual’s privacy.
- The driver must be told that a refusal to give a urine sample will result in a suspension of the driver’s privilege to drive a motor vehicle for 12 months for a first refusal, or for 18 months if the driver’s privilege to drive has previously been suspended for refusing to give a lawful breath, blood or urine sample.The driver must also be told that if his or her privilege to drive has previously been suspended for refusing to give a lawful breath, blood or urine sample and refuses a second time that he or she commits a misdemeanor.This is Florida’s Implied Consent Warning. If the officer does not read the driver this warning, then any evidence that the driver refused the urine sample is not admissible at trial.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence, please do not hesitate to contact an skilled
Palm Beach criminal defense attorney at Bottari & Doyle.