Chemical Tests

Florida Statute § 316.193(1)(a) establishes that a person commits the offense of driving under the influence (DUI) if he or she is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle within this state while he or she is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance, or any controlled substance, when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired.

Two other ways in which a person commits a "per se" (Latin phrase meaning "by itself" or "in itself") DUI offense is if he or she has a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.

Law enforcement officers frequently use chemical tests to collect the evidence necessary to convict alleged offenders of DUI, and the type of test that a person is asked to submit to can vary depending on the type of DUI case.

While breath tests are very common for most alcohol-related DUI offenses, an alleged offender who is suspected of being under the influence of a chemical or controlled substance (a crime colloquially referred to as "drugged driving") may be asked to submit to a blood or urine test.

It is important to keep in mind that breath, blood, and urine tests all require the people administering them to comply with certain requirements. Any deviation from protocol can affect the accuracy of the test and possibly result in the evidence being inadmissible in court.

Lawyer in West Palm Beach, FL Discusses DUI Chemical Tests

If you were arrested for DUI in South Florida as the result of a failed breath, blood, or urine test, it is in your best interest to quickly seek legal representation.

Meltzer & Bell, P.A. defends clients charged with drunk driving and drugged driving crimes in Royal Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, and many other surrounding areas of Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and Palm Beach County.

West Palm Beach criminal defense attorneys Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell can fight to have the results from improperly administered chemical tests excluded or suppressed.

You can have our lawyers provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case when you call (561) 283-3259 to set up a free initial consultation.


Palm Beach County Chemical Tests Information Center

  • How does implied consent apply to chemical tests?
  • What are the differences between the types of chemical tests?
  • Where can I learn more about chemical tests in West Palm Beach?

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Implied Consent to Chemical Testing in Florida

Florida Statute § 316.1932 states that any person who accepts the privilege of operating a motor vehicle within Florida is, by so operating such vehicle, deemed to have given his or her consent to submit to an approved chemical test or physical test.

The chemical or physical breath test must be incidental to a lawful arrest and administered at the request of a law enforcement officer who has reasonable cause to believe such person was driving or was in actual physical control of the motor vehicle within this state while under the influence of alcoholic beverages, and the administration of a breath test does not preclude the administration of another type of test.

When a police officer arrests an alleged offender for DUI, he or she must read the implied consent warning notifying the person that he or she is required by Florida Statutes to submit to a chemical test to determine his or her blood alcohol content and the test being given is a result of that person being charged with DUI.

The alleged offender will be informed that the officer is either requesting that the individual submit to an approved test of his or her breath for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of his or her breath, a test of his or her urine for the purpose of determining the presence of any chemical or controlled substance, or an approved test of his or her blood for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of his or her blood.

After reading one of those three statements, the officer will then state:

Your failure to submit to any lawful test of your breath, urine, or blood will result in the suspension of your privilege to operate a motor vehicle for a period of 1 year for a first refusal, or for a period of 18 months if your driving privilege has been previously suspended as a result of a refusal to submit to such a test or tests. If you refuse to submit to a lawful test of your breath, urine, or blood and your driving privilege has been previously suspended for a prior refusal to submit to a lawful test of your breath, urine, or blood; you commit a misdemeanor in addition to any other penalties. The refusal to submit to a chemical or physical test upon the request of a law enforcement officer as provided in the statute is admissible as evidence in any criminal proceeding.

The officer will then simply ask, "Will you take the test?" If the alleged offender declines, the officer will ask, “Do you still refuse to submit to this test knowing your driving privilege will be suspended for a period of at least one year?” Refusing chemical tests can result in criminal and civil penalties.


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Types of Chemical Tests in West Palm Beach

Police departments and law enforcement agencies in Florida generally use three kinds of chemical tests. The kind of test an alleged offender is asked to submit to will depend on the specific circumstances involved in his or her case.

The most commonly utilized tests include:

  • Urine Test — Urine tests (also known as urinalysis) are fairly rare in most DUI cases, but they may be employed when alleged offenders are believed to be under the influence of a chemical substance or controlled substance. While urine tests are viewed as being less invasive tests, they are also seen as being the least reliable of the three major chemical tests. Tests might be inadmissible if samples were improperly administered or improperly handled. 
  • Blood Test — Unlike urine tests, blood draws are considered the most accurate of the three major chemical tests as well as the most invasive. For this reason, Florida state law strictly regulates who can administer a blood draw as well as very specific procedures that must be followed as part of a blood test. The only ways in which law enforcement can compel a person to submit a person to admit to a blood draw—if the alleged offender does not voluntarily consent—is if an officer has probable cause to believe an alleged offender under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance, or any controlled substance drove or was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle that caused the death or serious bodily injury of a human being, or when a health care provider providing medical care in a health care facility to a person injured in a motor vehicle crash becomes aware as a result of any blood test performed in the course of that medical treatment that the person’s blood-alcohol level meets or exceeds the legal limit.
  • Breath Test — The breath test (commonly referred to as the breathalyzer) is the most common kind of test employed in most DUI cases. Alleged offenders may be asked to submit to tests on either (or both) portable roadside devices or standalone units at police stations. The machines used to measure alcohol on a person's breath must be regularly maintained to ensure their accuracy, and tests need to be administered by individuals with required licenses.

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Florida Chemical Test Resources

Challenges and Defenses II | National District Attorneys Association — View the full text of a guide created by the National Traffic Law Center of the National District Attorneys Association to assist prosecutors and law enforcement in understanding the nature of defense challenged in DUI cases. The guide has sections dedicated to confronting defense issues in prescription and over-the-counter drug DUIs, breath testing results, and blood draws and test results. Additional sections address measurement uncertainty and challenges to the source code of breath testing instruments.

Florida Statute § 316.1932 — View the full text of Florida's implied consent law, including tests for alcohol, chemical substances, or controlled substances. You can learn more about tests must be administered. The statute also contains information about a person's right to an independent test.


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Find a DUI Chemical Tests Defense Attorney in West Palm Beach, FL

Were you arrested for DUI after failing a blood, breath, or urine test in South Florida? Contact Meltzer & Bell, P.A. as soon as possible.

Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell are experienced criminal defense lawyers in West Palm Beach who represent individuals in communities all over Miami-Dade County, Palm Beach County, and Broward County, such as Wellington, Boynton Beach, Greenacres, Lake Worth, Riviera Beach, and many others.

Call (561) 283-3259 or complete an online form to have our attorneys review your case and help you understand all of your legal options during a free, confidential consultation.



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