DUI Property Damage in Pasco County
If your DUI case involved a crash with property damage, then unique legal issues will be presented. DUI cases involving a crash are more serious and come with harsher penalties.
Proving that you were the driver might be more difficult if no one saw you behind the wheel. Any statements taken as part of the accident report investigation are privileged and should not be used against you in the DUI prosecution.
If you were injured in the crash and taken to the hospital, then other issues might arise if a blood sample was obtained to measure your blood alcohol concentration.
After the arrest for DUI with property damage, you only have ten (10) days to demand a formal review hearing to challenge the administrative suspension of your driver’s license. If you were arrested for DUI in Pasco County, FL, then the formal review hearing will take place in the Tampa Bureau of Administrative Review (BAR).
Don’t waive your rights at the Bureau of Administrative Review (BAR) office until after you have discussed your case with an experienced attorney.
In addition to the administrative suspension, you must also deal with the criminal charges for DUI property damage in Pasco County, FL. The case will be heard at the courthouse in Dade City or New Port Richey, FL, depending on which side of the county the incident occurred.
Attorney for DUI Property Damage in Pasco County, FL
If your DUI arrest occurred after a traffic crash causing property damage, then contact our Pasco County DUI defense attorneys for advice. Unique issues are presented in cases for DUI with property damage.
Our attorneys are familiar with the difference between legal blood drawn pursuant to the implied consent law and medical blood drawn for purposes of treatment. Both types of blood tests have different requirements under Florida law.
Additionally, our attorneys understand the best ways to challenge the State’s “Notice of Intent to Subpoena Medical Records.”
Warrantless Misdemeanor Arrest Exemption for a DUI Crash
A DUI is a misdemeanor offense under Florida law. See Sections 316.193(2)(a), 775.08(2), 901.15(1), Fla. Stat. As a general rule, a law enforcement officer may only make a warrantless misdemeanor arrest when the officer has actually witnessed the commission of the offense. See Section 901.15, Florida Statutes.
Pursuant to section 316.645, Florida Statutes, however, a “police officer who makes an investigation at the scene of a traffic crash may arrest any driver of a vehicle involved in the crash when, based upon personal investigation, the officer has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that the person has committed any offense under the provisions of this chapter, chapter 320, or chapter 322 in connection with the crash.”
For this reason, a warrantless arrest at the scene of a traffic accident for misdemeanor DUI is the exception to the general statutory requirement that an officer can only make a warrantless misdemeanor arrest if the offense is committed in his presence. See State v. Hemmerly, 723 So. 2d 324, 325 (Fla. 5th DCA 1999).
In other words, a police officer is authorized to arrest when based on his or her personal investigation at the scene of a traffic crash, the officer has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that a driver has committed the misdemeanor crime of DUI.
Probable cause for an arrest may be based on circumstantial evidence and common sense inferences coupled with the general knowledge and experience of the officer. See Dep’t of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles v. Whitley, 846 So. 2d 1163, 1165-66 (Fla. 5th DCA 2003).
In general, “probable cause sufficient to justify an arrest exists where the facts and circumstances, as analyzed from the officer’s knowledge, special training and practical experience, and of which he has reasonable trustworthy information, are sufficient in themselves for a reasonable man to reach the conclusion that an offense has been committed.” Id.
Can the Prosecutor Get Medical Records to Show the Blood Alcohol Level?
After a traffic crash, the investigating officer might discover evidence to believe that a driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs which might trigger a DUI investigation. The investigation officer might contact a prosecutor with the state attorney’s office to request a subpoena for medical records.
Before the medical records can be obtained, the prosecutor has to notify you in writing of their intention to obtain the records. If you receive a “Notice of Intent to Subpoena Medical Records” in the mail, then you only have a limited time to object.
An objection will trigger the court setting the matter for a “Hunter Hearing.” Because the issues are complicated, a criminal defense attorney can help you litigate the issues at the Hunter Hearing at the courthouse in Dade City or New Port Richey.
If your attorney can convince the judge to not allow the state to issue the subpoena, then you might avoid a DUI prosecution entirely.
Contact us to find out what happens after the prosecutor for a DUI in Pasco County, FL, seeks a subpoena for your medical records pursuant to section 395.3025, Florida Statutes. As a general matter, a patient’s medical records are protected under Florida’s constitutional right to privacy as well as by statute. Art. I, Sec. 23, Fla. Const.; Hunter v. State, 639 So. 2d 72 (Fla. 5th DCA), rev. denied, 649 So. 2d 233 (Fla. 1994).
Where a privacy right attaches, the State may justify encroachment of that right if it demonstrates a compelling state interest and that the state has used the least intrusive means to accomplish the goal. Shaktman v. State, 553 So. 2d 148 (Fla. 1989). A compelling state interest exists upon a showing that the materials contain information relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation.
“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.” State v. Rutherford, 707 So. 2d 1129, 1131(Fla. 4th DCA 1997).
Under the statute, once the patient objects to the issuance of an investigative subpoena for medical records, the State must demonstrate a nexus between the records sought and a pending criminal investigation. Cerroni v. State, 823 So. 2d 150 (Fla. 5th DCA 2002). This determination is made at a “Hunter Hearing.”
Your DUI defense attorney can object to the issuance of the subpoena for medical records on several grounds. First, your attorney can argue that there were no facts that provide a specific connection to either alcohol or a controlled substance.
If no indicia of impairment was alleged to indicate the consumption of alcohol and no facts were alleged to support the conclusion that you consumed any specific drug, there is no nexus between the medical records and a criminal investigation to overcome the patient’s right to privacy in the medical records.
Your DUI defense attorney can object to the issuance of a subpoena for your medical records on the grounds that you did not want medical treatment and were transported to and treated at the hospital against your wishes. If the medical blood was obtained solely by the actions of the police, then a warrant might be required to take your blood.
If the requested medical records were created entirely by State action, then a warrant should be required for their production. To the extent that sections 395.3025 and 456.057, Florida Statutes permit a search without a warrant, in light of intervening United States Supreme Court decisions, these statutes are now unconstitutional for the reasons explained in Missouri v. McNeely, 569 U.S. 141 (2013).
This article was last updated on Friday, April 9, 2021.