“Officer was not qualified to make a determination that the defendant was under influence of anything other than alcohol”
Refusal to Submit to Chemical Test in a DUI
Driving Under Influence Defense Attorney in Tampa reports that the Refusal to submit to a urine test may not always be a bad decision for those suspected of DUI. Especially relevant one court just ruled that a DUI Officer did not have probable cause to ask a defendant to submit to a urine test. The cop asked for a Urine sample to perform a chemical test under Florida Statute Chapter 316.
The court noted that the defendant’s breath test did not meet the level for the presumption of impairment. Nevertheless, the police officer saw the DUI defendant lying in a vehicle. Then the driver did not move the vehicle through multiple traffic light phases. The cop testified that the suspect exhibited signs of intoxication, and told the DUI officer that he was in pain and needed to take medication.
The key to the court’s ruling suppressing testimony about the refusal to submit to a chemical test was a finding of the unqualification of the Officer to make a determination that the defendant was under influence of anything other than alcohol. Notably, the cop did not observe any evidence that defendant was under influence of narcotics. A search of the DUI suspect’s vehicle and his person did not reveal the presence of any drugs. The court ruled in favor of suppressing the refusal to submit. Read about efforts to improve qualifications of officers.
Refusal to Submit to Chemical Test Case Excerpts:
Before The Trial, The Court Allowed The Refusal To Submit Into Evidence
“[T]he Appellant was arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence in violation of Florida Statute §316.193(1). Prior to trial, the trial court conducted an evidentiary hearing on a motion to suppress evidence of the Defendant’s refusal to submit to a urine test. The Trial Court denied the motion to suppress evidence, and the evidence of the Defendant’s refusal was admitted into evidence.”
Collecting And Testing Urine Are Considered Searches
“The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and the Florida Constitution guarantee citizens the right to be free against unreasonable searches and seizures. Art I § 12, Fla. Constitution. In order to request a driver submit to a urine test, the officers must [have] reasonable cause to believe such person was driving or was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle within this state while under the influence of chemical substances or controlled substances. Additionally, it is clear that the collection and testing of urine intrude upon expectations of privacy that society has long recognized as reasonable . . . these intrusions must be deemed searches under the Fourth Amendment. Skinner v. Ry. Labor Executive Ass’n, 489 U.S. 602, 617 (1989). “
An Officer Must Look At The Whole Picture
“Therefore, the test is whether the facts and circumstances within an officer’s knowledge are sufficient to warrant a person of reasonable caution to believe that an offense has been committed. McNeil v. State, 512 So.2d 1062, 1064 (Fla. 4th DCA 1987). In determining if probable cause exists, the totality of the circumstances, i.e., the whole picture, must be taken into account. State v. Ellison, 455 So.2d 424, 427, (Fla. 2d DCA 1984); Elliot v. State, 597 So.2d 916 (Fla. 4th DCA1992). “
The Officer’s Hunch Is NOT Enough
“The facts and circumstances in the instant case fall short of the probable cause finding necessary for the officer to believe that the Defendant was under the influence of drugs.” “The grounds for requesting the urine sample in this case resembles a hunch or a mere suspicion, rather than probable cause. Therefore, the trial court erred in denying Defendant’s motion to suppress.”
Source: FLWSUPP 1807ESTR