If you were in a car crash and taken to the hospital, the officer that investigates the crash might develop cause to think that you were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash.
The officer might decide not to make an arrest immediately if you are admitted into the hospital. Instead, the officer might decide to:
- ask you for a voluntary blood sample that can be tested by a crime lab to determine its alcohol content or the presence of any controlled substance (often called the “legal blood test”);
- obtain a warrant for a forced blood draw to obtain the sample that can be sent to the crime lab; or
- ask the state attorney’s office to subpoena your medical records to determine your blood alcohol concentration (often called the “medical blood test”).
If the concentration of the sample of whole blood is above the legal limit, then the officer can issue a DUI citation charging you with DUI.
Attorney for the DUI Blood Test in West Palm Beach, FL
Did you receive a notice of the prosecutor’s “Intent to Subpoena Medical or Hospital Records”? If so, you have a right to object to the issuance of the subpoena. An attorney can help you enter the objection which then triggers the State Attorney’s Office to schedule a hearing with the court.
At the hearing (often called the “Hunter Hearing”), the court can deny the request by the State Attorney’s Office to subpoena the Defendant’s medical or hospital records to find a blood alcohol concentration test result.
Whether your case involves a legal blood draw pursuant to a warrant after a DUI arrest or a subpoena for medical records, our attorneys can help you fight the case. Contact us at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. to talk to an attorney experienced in fighting a DUI case involving a blood test.
Call (561) 557-8686 today.
Investigative Subpoena for Medical Records in Palm Beach County, FL
The first step for the State Attorney’s Office in this type of case is pending you notice that it intends to seek the issuance of an investigative subpoena for your medical records. The State Attorney’s Office is required to mail you the notice.
If you get such a notice, you should immediately retain a criminal defense attorney to fight the case. If the court doesn’t allow the State Attorney’s Office to send the subpoena, then you can drastically reduce the chances that you will be charged with or convicted of DUI.
Procedures for the Subpoena for Medical Records of the BAC
Pursuant to Administrative Order 4.104, the court has entered an order finding that sound principles of judicial economy require the establishment of procedures to govern the assignment of State Attorney motions for authorization to issue investigative subpoenas.
Florida Statute Section 395.3025(4), requires, upon objection by the patient, that the state attorney’s office obtain court authorization prior to the issuance of the State Attorney investigative subpoena for patient records.
Objecting to any Subpoena of your Medical Records
Did you receive a notice of the prosecutor’s “Intent to Subpoena Medical or Hospital Records”?Y ou have a right to object to the issuance of the subpoena. If you properly object, then a hearing will be scheduled.
The court can deny the request by the State Attorney’s Office to subpoena the Defendant’s medical or hospital records to find a blood alcohol concentration test result.
In these cases, the court can deny the request if the state fails to establish there was a reasonable founded suspicion to believe that the Defendant was driving while impaired by alcohol or controlled substances. That showing is necessary to overcome the Defendant’s right to privacy in the medical or hospital records. If that showing is not met, there is insufficient evidence to show that the medical or hospital records contain information relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation.
Without sufficient evidence, the court might find that the evidence presented falls woefully short of establishing probable cause to believe that the Defendant was driving while impaired by alcohol or a controlled substance to lawfully request breath, blood or urine. §316.1932, Fla. Stat.
The Hunter Hearing in Florida
Before the State can employ its investigatory subpoena power and compel disclosure of medical records without the consent of the patient, the State “…has the obligation and the burden to show the relevancy of the records requested.” Hunter v. State, 639 So. 3d 72, 74 (Fla. 5th DCA 1994); §395.3025(4), Fla. Stat.
If the patient objects, the hearing that follows is often called the “Hunter Hearing.” At the Hunter Hearing, the state has the burden of proof and pursuasion that arises from the Constitutional right to privacy in one’s medical records. The right to privacy requires the State to demonstrate a compelling interest in the disclosure. Art. 1, §23, Fla. Const.
“Such [a compelling state] interest exists where there is a reasonable founded suspicion that the materials contain information relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation.”State v. Rivers, 787 So. 2d 952, 953 (Fla. 2d DCA 2001) [26 Fla. L. Weekly D1512a].
In State v. Rutherford, 707 So. 2d 1129, 1131 (Fla. 4th DCA 1997) [22 Fla. L. Weekly D2387b] [disapproved on other grounds in State v. Johnson, 814 So. 2d 390 (Fla. 2002) [27 Fla. L. Weekly S250a]], the court held that:
“Where a right to privacy attaches, the State may vindicate an encroachment on that right…(when it) is established by a showing that the police have a reasonable founded suspicion that the protected materials contain information relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation.”
In Guardado v. State, 61 So. 3d 1210 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011) [36 Fla. L. Weekly D1087a], the “crash plus death” or “crash plus injury” does not always make the blood relevant. Without some evidence that the Defendant was impaired by alcohol or a controlled substance, the State falls woefully short of its burden to demonstrate a compelling interest which exists where there is a reasonable founded suspicion that the materials contain information relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation to overcome the Defendant’s right to privacy in his or her medical records.
Finding a Lawyer for a DUI Blood Test in Palm Beach County, FL
If you want to fight the “State’s Notice of Intent to Subpoena Medical Records,” then contact an experienced DUI defense attorney in West Palm Beach, FL, in Palm Beach County, at Meltzer & Bell, P.A.. Our attorneys are experienced in fighting a wide variety of DUI cases including a DUI with property damage, serious bodily injury or death.
Our drunk driving defense attorneys are also experienced in DUI cases with a chemical test including a breath test or urine test. We can help you at every stage of the case from the first appearance through trial.
Call (561) 557-8686 today.
This article was last updated on Friday, April 27, 2018.