A 38-year-old Land O’Lakes woman and England native was charged with three counts of DUI with property damage Monday after her Dodge Durango allegedly struck a mailbox and a traffic warning sign. Florida Highway Patrol said the vehicle came to a stop amidst trees and shrubbery where it caught on fire.
According to Tampa Bay Online, the accident occurred around 3:35 p.m. The woman was supposedly drifting in and out of sleep when speaking to a trooper at the scene. She eventually was able to tell police she was traveling to pick up her 2- and 4-year-old children from day care.
She was released from the Land O’ Lakes Jail Tuesday morning after posting a $1,500 bond.
Under current Florida law, law enforcement is permitted to forcibly draw blood from a driver if the officer thinks that someone has endured serious bodily injury or when there is a fatality. It is not out of the ordinary to see a case where a DUI suspect declined a blood alcohol test and blood was drawn anyway. In cases like these, protests can be made to keep the results from being entered as evidence at trial on fourth Amendment search and seizure grounds and Fifth Amendment due process and rights against self-incrimination.
The drawing of blood is objectionable when the gap of time between the DUI arrest and the drawing of blood is far apart. Many courts hold police responsible for obtaining a search warrant before compulsive blood draw. The government has successfully argued in certain instances that the fleeting nature of blood alcohol evidence makes dire circumstances that can rationalize the confiscation of blood without a search warrant. The forcible blood draw is usually rendered invalid if other tests such as a breathalyzer test are available and have been or could have been carried out.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI where blood was drawn without your consent, contact the Florida DUI Attorneys at the Law Offices of Whittel & Melton, LLC online or call 1-866-608-5LAW (5529).