FL laws on DUI blood testing ruled unconstitutional
TAMPA (FOX 13) - Some of Florida's laws dealing with driving under the influence have been struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, and state lawmakers are - once again - scrambling to keep up.
Eilam Isaak has been a DUI attorney for 24 years and spoke with FOX 13's Gloria Gomez about what the ruling means.
"This is going to open up a can of worms. It's gonna keep me busy for the next few years," Isaak said.
The ruling has to do with the rights of drivers suspected of driving under the influence, and the legality of refusing a breath, blood or urine test.
Under current Florida law, suspected DUI drivers have the ability to refuse a breath, blood or urine test, but law enforcement may - under certain conditions - force a suspect to provide one.
"Florida's refusal statute is unconstitutional, no question," Isaak said, agreeing with the SCOTUS ruling.
The Supreme Court said forcing someone to submit to a blood or urine test for a misdemeanor was unconstitutional. Instead, SCOTUS said officers would have to obtain a warrant for a blood test.
Florida law, however, does not allow law enforcement to obtain warrants for misdemeanor charges, and many DUI offenses are considered misdemeanors in Florida.
In other words, until Florida lawmakers change laws regarding DUI, warrants, or both, officers have no way to force suspects to submit a blood or urine sample.
In the majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito called the blood test more intrusive, "because it pierces the skin and leaves a biological sample in government's possession."
"It's a complex issue and there are so many statutes that interplay with one another. It's just not going to be one case, one law, one rule of law, and we're done. It's just not that simple," explained Isaak. "They're going to have to change the entire statute on warrants. They're going to have to change the statute on refusals. They're going to have to change the statutes on DUIs."