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Search Warrants for Blood in DUI Cases

If you visit the Florida Impaired Driving Coalition (FIDC) website, you can see they have a radical plan to change Florida’s DUI laws. At a recent virtual FCID meeting on July 23-24, 2020, Nicholas Tiscione from Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, lead a discussion on FIDC’s Blood Warrant Model Language.

The model language would change the law to allow the issuance of a search warrant to obtain forced blood draws for any violation of the DUI laws found in Section 316.193 or the BUI laws found in Section 327.35, including a misdemeanor for a first offense with no aggravating factors.

Currently, Florida law doesn’t allow search warrants for misdemeanor offenses under most circumstances.

Concern About FIDC Model Language

The model language for the proposed changes to Section 933.02 provides:

933.02 Grounds for issuance of search warrant.— Upon proper affidavits being made, a search warrant may be issued under the provisions of this chapter upon any of the following grounds:….

(6) When a sample of the blood of a person constitutes evidence relevant to proving that a violation of s. 316.193 or s. 327.35 has been committed.

The FCID material discusses why blood is the best specimen for testing in impaired driving cases including:

  • a shorter detection window than urine
  • allowing for testing the concentration of both alcohol and drugs
  • unlike urine, blood concentrations can have some meaning for showing impairment from drugs

The discussion material indicates that as many as 40 states and the District of Columbia allow warrants for misdemeanor DUI blood draws.