2021 Florida Statutes< Back to Statute Search
Title XXIV VESSELS
Chapter 327 VESSEL SAFETY
SECTION 353Blood test for impairment or intoxication in cases of death or serious bodily injury; right to use reasonable force.
327.353 Blood test for impairment or intoxication in cases of death or serious bodily injury; right to use reasonable force.—
(1)(a) If a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a vessel operated by a person under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substances, or any controlled substances has caused the death or serious bodily injury of a human being, a law enforcement officer shall require the person operating or in actual physical control of the vessel to submit to a test of the person’s blood for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content thereof or the presence of chemical substances as set forth in s. 877.111 or any substance controlled under chapter 893. The law enforcement officer may use reasonable force if necessary to require the person to submit to the administration of the blood test. The blood test shall be performed in a reasonable manner. Notwithstanding s. 327.352, the testing required by this paragraph need not be incidental to a lawful arrest of the person.
(b) The term “serious bodily injury” means an injury to any person, including the operator, which consists of a physical condition that creates a substantial risk of death, serious personal disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
(2)(a) Only a physician, certified paramedic, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, other personnel authorized by a hospital to draw blood, or duly licensed clinical laboratory director, supervisor, technologist, or technician, acting at the request of a law enforcement officer, may withdraw blood for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content thereof or the presence of chemical substances or controlled substances therein. However, the failure of a law enforcement officer to request the withdrawal of blood shall not affect the admissibility of a test of blood withdrawn for medical purposes.
(b) A chemical analysis of the person’s blood to determine the alcoholic content thereof must have been performed substantially in accordance with methods approved by the Department of Law Enforcement and by an individual possessing a valid permit issued by the department for this purpose. The Department of Law Enforcement may approve satisfactory techniques or methods, ascertain the qualifications and competence of individuals to conduct such analyses, and issue permits that are subject to termination or revocation at the discretion of the department. Insubstantial differences between approved methods or techniques and actual testing procedures, or any insubstantial defects concerning the permit issued by the department, in any individual case, do not render the test or test results invalid.
(c) A hospital, clinical laboratory, medical clinic, or similar medical institution or physician, certified paramedic, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, other personnel authorized by a hospital to draw blood, or duly licensed clinical laboratory director, supervisor, technologist, or technician, or other person assisting a law enforcement officer shall not incur any civil or criminal liability as a result of the withdrawal or analysis of a blood specimen pursuant to accepted medical standards when requested by a law enforcement officer, regardless of whether or not the subject resisted administration of the test.
(3)(a) Any criminal charge resulting from the incident giving rise to the officer’s demand for testing shall be tried concurrently with a charge of any violation arising out of the same incident, unless, in the discretion of the court, such charges should be tried separately. If the charges are tried separately, the fact that the person refused, resisted, obstructed, or opposed testing is admissible at the trial of the criminal offense which gave rise to the demand for testing.
(b) The results of any test administered pursuant to this section for the purpose of detecting the presence of any controlled substance are not admissible as evidence in a criminal prosecution for the possession of a controlled substance.
(4) Notwithstanding any provision of law pertaining to the confidentiality of hospital records or other medical records, information relating to the alcoholic content of the blood or the presence of chemical substances or controlled substances in the blood obtained pursuant to this section shall be released to a court, prosecuting attorney, defense attorney, or law enforcement officer in connection with an alleged violation of s. 327.35 upon request for such information.
History.—s. 3, ch. 84-188; s. 26, ch. 87-243; s. 4, ch. 87-392; s. 11, ch. 91-255; s. 460, ch. 95-148; s. 22, ch. 96-330; s. 8, ch. 2002-263.