Florida Court Explains Grounds for Suppressing Evidence Obtained by Warrant

In order to convict someone of DUI, the State generally must prove the person was driving while intoxicated, which it usually does through the introduction of evidence of the individual’s blood alcohol concentration. Thus, if the police improperly obtained a blood test and the results of the test are deemed inadmissible, the State may be unable to prove culpability. Recently, a Florida court discussed when the results of chemical testing should be suppressed in a case in which the defendant was charged with DUI manslaughter. If you are accused of DUI in Florida, it is critical to retain an assertive Florida DUI defense attorney who will fight to help you try to protect your rights.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was involved in a collision that resulted in the death of another person. The police officer investigating the accident believed that the defendant was intoxicated and asked him if he would submit to a blood test. The defendant declined, after which the officer obtained a search warrant that allowed him to obtain two blood samples an hour apart. After securing the warrant, the office obtained two vials of blood from the defendant via a single draw and did not collect a second sample. The defendant filed a motion to suppress the results of the test, arguing the police failed to comply with the warrant. The trial court granted the motion, and the State appealed.

Grounds for Suppressing Evidence Obtained Via a Search Warrant

The trial court relied on established Florida law stating that the purpose of requiring specificity in the description in a warrant of the things to be seized is to prevent general searches. The duty for an officer to explicitly describe the objects that will be taken under the warrant bars general searches and avoids an officer from confiscating one thing when another thing is described in the warrant. In other words, the requirement that a warrant must be particular limits the discretion of the officer that is conducting a search pursuant to the warrant by preventing an exploratory search under a general warrant.

In the subject case, the appellate court found that the warrant in question was sufficiently specific and that the trial court erred in granting the defendant’s motion to suppress. Essentially, the trial court did not rule that the warrant was overbroad, but decided to invalidate the warrant because the investigating officer conducted a more restrictive search than was permitted by the warrant. The appellate court noted that this ruling was without basis in the law, as prior rulings invalidating warrants dealt solely with warrants that permitted general or overly broad searches. As such, the appellate court reversed the trial court ruling.

Confer with a Dedicated Florida Attorney

A DUI conviction can affect your rights, reputation, and relationships. If you are charged with DUI, it is advisable to confer with an attorney regarding your potential defenses. The dedicated Florida DUI defense attorneys of Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, P.A. are adept at helping criminal defendants seek favorable outcomes, and if you engage our services, we will advocate aggressively on your behalf. You can contact us through our form online or at 800-283-7442 to set up a conference.

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