DUI Procedures for Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office created Standard Operating Procedure POB-33 (Revision Date: 04-28-2020) for driving under the influence (DUI) investigations.
If you were arrested for a DUI by a deputy with the sheriff’s office in Pinellas County, FL, then contact an experienced attorney at Sammis Law Firm.
Even if you were arrested in Pinellas County by a police officer with a local police department, you might have been brought to the PCSO’s Central Breath Testing facility at the 49th Street Jail for a breath or urine test.
The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm focus on drunk driving defense. We understand the standard operating procedures used by the sheriff’s office during these types of investigations.
Any deviation from these procedures might be grounds to exclude or suppress evidence, sometimes leading to the dismissal of the charges or a “not guilty” verdict at trial.
The main office of Sammis Law Firm is located in downtown Tampa, FL. We recently opened an office in Clearwater near the CJC Courthouse. Our office is located at 14010 Roosevelt Blvd Suite 701, Clearwater, FL 33762-3820.
Don’t face the judge alone. Contact our experienced criminal defense lawyers focused on serious traffic crimes. We can help you understand the penalties that might apply to a DUI charge in Pinellas County, FL.
I. Purpose of PCSO’s SOP for DUI
The purpose of this Standard Operating Procedure is to establish guidelines for conducting Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and/ or Drugs (DUI) investigations and to provide consistent chemical testing procedures to drivers suspected of being impaired by alcohol, other drugs, or controlled substances.
II. Discussion of PCSO’s Commitment to DUI Enforcement
The Pinellas County Sheriffs is committed to its fight against impaired driving. The agency uses various countermeasures against drug and alcohol abuse.
These countermeasures include conducting or participating in roadside safety checkpoints, roadway and boating safety programs, DUI Wolf Pack activity, assisting in programs established by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and other anti-drug and DUI programs.
The detection and arrest of impaired drivers differ significantly from other traffic law investigations. Specific statutes and regulations govern DUI, implied consent, chemical test for impairment, and establish legal limits of impairment or intoxication.
These statutes and regulations include many provisions which affect a deputy’s authority and establish procedures for conducting tests and initiating the DUI sanction process.
III. DUI Procedures for Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
A. Training to Conduct DUI Investigations
1. All Patrol Operations Bureau (POB) members shall complete comprehensive training on DUI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST).
2. All Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office members conducting chemical tests for impairment shall complete operator training programs, and appropriate in-service training, and be certified in accordance with state/ local requirements.
B. Detection and Psychophysical Evaluations
All observations in this stage are crucial in establishing probable cause upon which the arrest decision is based. Deputies must perform the following tasks:
- Recognize and identify specific identification cues that have a high probability of signifying that the driver may be impaired by alcohol and I or drugs e.g., weaving, braking erratically, headlights off.
- Recognize and identify specific reinforcement cues occurring during vehicle stops that provide additional evidence for suspicion that the driver may be impaired e.g., fleeing, littering, inappropriate signaling, and/or stops.
- Note all observations leading to the suspicion that the driver may be impaired and exercise due care in stopping. the violator.
- The stop should be made in a safe location as soon as is practical.
- Notify the Communications Division of stop location and vehicle identification e.g., license plate number, and vehicle description.
- Once the vehicle has stopped and you suspect the driver is impaired, do not allow the driver to move the vehicle.
- Request a backup unit whenever possible.
- Obtain driver’s license and other appropriate documents e.g., registration, proof of insurance, and note specific characteristics, attitudes, and actions commonly manifested by impaired drivers during face-to-face contact.
- Deputies should on-view location, license plate number, and vehicle description as soon as possible after obtaining driver information.
- If reasonable suspicion exists, request the driver to exit the vehicle and move to a safe location to conduct field sobriety tests.
- If the vehicle was not observed in motion, determine if probable cause exists to charge the driver with actual physical control.
- Administer the appropriate standardized field sobriety tests to assess impairment using the Pinellas County Standardized Field Sobriety Test Form. This form is located in Forms Control on SONET.
- Advise the subject if they refuse to take the standardized field sobriety tests it will be used against them in a court of law. The deputy will then document the subject’s refusal in the narrative of the report. The narrative will also include the observations of the driving, personal contact phase, and statements made to substantiate the initial arrest.
- Read the driver their rights under MIRANDA from the card issued by the State Attorney’s Office prior to asking the driver questions from the field sobriety test form. MIRANDA is not required to be read when asking the medical and health questions prior to the administration of the SFST.
C. Arrest and Processing by PCSO
- If all elements of the DUI violation have been clearly established, the deputy may physically arrest the driver.
- Handcuff and search the subject.
- The subject will be placed in the rear, caged area of the patrol unit.
- Secure the subject’s vehicle and property in accordance with GO 07-03, Vehicle Impound and Inventory, regarding towing procedures.
- Arrange for transportation/ safety of any passengers requiring or requesting assistance.
- Transport the subject to the Central Breath Testing (CBT) Facility for video recording (unless video recording was performed on the roadside), evidential chemical testing, and processing. If the subject is violent or combative, take the subject directly to the sally port I Booking Facility. It is advisable to have a witness present when the implied consent form is read to a combative subject.
- Video Recording – When conducting a standardized field sobriety test, the deputy may use an in-car video system, if available, or the video room at the CBT Facility. The use or non-use of video recording will be documented in the offense report.
D. Roadside Video Recording by PCSO
- Upon completing the initial interview with the suspect violator, the decision to continue with field sobriety tests and site selection shall be carefully considered.
- The deputy conducting the DUI investigation shall be responsible for ensuring that a safe and appropriate environment is used for all field sobriety tests.
- The site selection may include but will not be limited to closed businesses, e.g. banks, stores, and parking lots away from thoroughfares.
- Site selection of closed businesses with exterior lighting at night is desirable to enhance video production quality.
- Video Production
- The deputy will ensure that there is adequate lighting for night taping of DUI investigations. The use of cruiser headlights and spotlight or alley lights may be required.
- The deputy will be responsible for the operation of the video recording.
- All members present during the video recording will be responsible for the content of the video-recorded investigation.
- Should the person to be tested refuse to be recorded on video, the subject will be advised that the video recording can and will be used in court as evidence. If the subject continues to refuse to be recorded on video, a refusal should be documented in the offense report and no video recording will take place.
- If the subject complies with the video recording, the deputy will begin the recording procedure by identifying him/herself and giving the time, date, and location while on camera with the test subject.
- The deputy will ask the required health-related questions and administer the appropriate psychophysical tests.
- Upon completion of the field sobriety tests, the deputy will read the Miranda warning from the State Attorney card and the waiver questions on the reverse side of the State Attorney card being sure to solicit an affirmative response to each question.
- The deputy will continue the investigation by asking the driver interview questions. Should an arrest result from the probable cause for DUI, the arrest may be conducted on video.
- Upon the completion of questions and responses, close the video recording and include the subject’s name and current time.
- The deputy will then ensure that the digital video is uploaded as soon as practical and in compliance with current policy.
E. Video Recording at the County Jail
- Take the subject to the CBT facility. Secure your firearm in your vehicle. A certified law enforcement officer and a certified breath test operator, if applicable, shall be in the CBT facility whenever there is a subject waiting or being tested.
- Conduct the DUI investigation that is outlined in 111, D, 2.
F. Evidential Control for Video Recording
- The arresting deputy will be responsible for uploading the digital video in a timely manner.
- The deputy will include the video recording as evidence in the offense report dictating all pertinent information.
G. Evidential Chemical Testing
- Conduct chemical breath test(s) in accordance with state/ local requirements.
- If a subject’s Breath Alcohol Content (BAC) is not consistent with their impairment and drugs are suspected, request a urine test in accordance with state/ local requirements. If the arrested subject is cooperative, a drug recognition expert will be requested, if available.
- If the subject refuses to submit to a breath or urine test, complete appropriate forms to invoke the implied consent sanction.
- Blood tests will not be routinely requested on standard DUI arrests but will be mandatory on crash cases resulting in the death or serious bodily injury of a human being if alcohol or drugs are suspected. If a breath test is impossible or impractical in medical-related cases, a blood test will be requested.
- Deputies must complete a “Certification of Blood Withdrawal” form, (FLOE/ ATP Form 11 ).
H. Complete Arrest Report and Other Required Forms
- Agency reports must be completed by arresting deputy as required, thoroughly documenting all evidence gathered during the investigation. It shall be the responsibility of the arresting deputy to attach a copy of the completed DUI packet to the offense report in ACISS.
- If a citation for the violation is warranted for the traffic stop, it will be completed by the initiating deputy or by the deputy making the DUI arrest. If anyone other than the initiating deputy completes the citation, the initiating deputy will be listed as a witness on the worksheet and will complete a supplemental report to include the probable cause for the stop.
- Copies of all citations will be given to arrested individuals.
- Complete paperwork associated with the administrative suspension of driver’s license, if applicable. Administrative suspension paperwork consists of the DUI packet gathered by a deputy who makes an arrest for DUI with a breath test result at or above a .08% BrAC and or the arrested subject refuses to submit to a breath, urine, or blood test. When these documents are complete, the deputy will scan the completed documents and email them to DHSMV – Bureau of Administrative Reviews (BAR) and Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Records via DUl@pcsonet.com. The deputy will title the subject line of the email with the arrested subject’s last name, first initial, and date of arrest. Example: SmithJ01012017
The following list of documents will be emailed to DHSMV and PCSO Records in the following order:
- DUI Packet Cover Agency Coversheet
- DL (copy) & Citation
- Breath Test Affidavit
- Refusal Affidavit (if applicable)
- Implied Consent
- Affidavit of True Copy
- Standardized Field Sobriety Test Form
- VIPAR Affidavit
- Additional Citations & VIPAR Affidavits
I. Juvenile DUI Offenders
- The deputy will follow the guidelines as outlined in 111, B through I.
- After completion of the evidential breath testing, the juvenile will be transported to the Pinellas County Juvenile Assessment Center (PJAC) for fingerprinting and photographing. The criminal DUI citation serves as the charging documentation for a misdemeanor. A felony charge would require a juvenile affidavit as well.
- The deputy will then transport the juvenile to a receiving facility, where they will be screened for admission. A Marchman Act form will be completed on the juvenile.
- The remaining DUI-related forms will be forwarded the same as an adult.
J. Transfer of DUI Investigations
- Upon detection of a suspected DUI by a certified law enforcement officer, another deputy may be requested to assume the investigation if that deputy can arrive within a reasonable amount of time.
- The initiating deputy or arresting deputy will complete a citation for the violation that established cause to stop the vehicle. If the arresting deputy completes the citation, the initiating deputy will be listed as a witness on the worksheet and will complete a supplemental report to include the probable cause for the stop.
- If an arrest is made, the arresting deputy will transport the subject and complete all necessary procedural steps for the DUI arrest.
- If another deputy is unable to respond, the initiating deputy will investigate the DUI and conduct the arrest, if probable cause exists.
K. Zero Tolerance Administrative Suspensions
- Per F.S. § 322.2616, notwithstanding 316.193, it is unlawful for a person under the age of 21 who has a breath alcohol of 0.02 or higher to operate or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle.
- In enforcing the non-criminal administrative suspension provision of the statute, the deputy will initially conduct a DUI investigation. If the subject does not meet the criteria of impairment for the arrest of DUI, the deputy will conduct the zero tolerance investigation.
- The deputy will request the subject to take a breath test with a portable breath test device listed in the U.S. Department of Transportation conforming product list of evidential measuring devices. If the subject has a blood or breath alcohol level of 0.02 or higher, the deputy shall, on behalf of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), suspend the driving privilege of such person. The deputy shall take the subject’s driver’s license, issue a ten-day temporary driving permit if they are eligible and issue the notice of suspension.
- A temporary permit issued at the time of the issuance of Notice of Suspension shall not become effective until twelve hours have elapsed and will expire at midnight of the tenth day following the day of issuance.
- A minor under the age of 18 years proven to be driving with a blood-alcohol or breath-alcohol level of 0.02 or higher may be taken by a law enforcement officer to the addictions receiving facility in the county in which the minor is found to be so driving, if the county makes the addictions receiving facility available for such purpose.
- The deputy will advise the subject that his / her driving privilege is suspended for a period of six months for a first violation or for a period of one year if his / her driving privilege has been previously suspended, as provided in F.S. § 322.2616.
- If the driver refuses to submit to a lawful breath test, the deputy must advise the individual that his/her driving privilege will be suspended for a period of one year for a first refusal or for a period of 18 months if their driving privilege has been previously suspended as a result of a refusal to submit to a test.
- The deputy will then complete an incident report of the zero-tolerance investigation.
L. Breath Testing Responsibilities of Breath Test Operators (BTO)
- Conduct breath tests to determine the presence of alcohol will be the primary chemical test performed when attempting to ascertain alcohol impairment in non-death / non-serious injury DUI investigations.
- All breath testing shall conform to all rules and regulations of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Florida Administrative Code, Chapter 11 D-8.
- A suspect driver who has been arrested for DUI, indicates any confusion about the requirement to take the breath test and refuses the breath test will be advised of “Implied Consent” by the arresting deputy.
- a. If the suspect is willing to submit, a breath alcohol test, consisting of two valid breath samples,
shall be conducted by a BTO.
- b. If the suspect refuses to submit or fails to complete a breath alcohol test, “Implied Consent” will
be read and a “Refusal Affidavit,” (HSMV-BAR1001), will be completed by the arresting deputy.
- a. If the suspect is willing to submit, a breath alcohol test, consisting of two valid breath samples,
- Responsibilities of BTO:
- a. Must hold a valid breath test permit issued by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).
- b. Must receive refresher training and re-certification before June 30 of the fourth year anniversary year following the initial issuance of their breath test certificate and every fourth year after that.
- c. Operators are required to follow all FDLE rules and regulations in administering breath tests and complete all appropriate paperwork.
- d. Operators are required to contact an agency inspector as soon as possible in the following instances:
- (1) If the breath testing equipment or any other equipment within Central Breath Testing (CBT) Facility malfunctions or becomes inoperative
- (2) If the breath testing equipment is damaged or tampered with
- (3) If there is any damage to any equipment within the CBT Facility
- (4) If there is a shortage of supplies or forms within the CBT Facility
- (5) If the CBT Facility is found unlocked or unsecured without a PCSO certified Breath Test Operator present
- (6) If the issued key card to the CBT Facility has been utilized by anyone other than a PCSO certified breath test operator
- (7) In order to preserve the sterile and evidentiary characteristics of the CBT Facility, persons who are not members of the agency will not be permitted to enter the CBT Facility, unless a certified Sheriff’s Office BTO is present
- (8) If there are any questions or problems regarding Breath Testing in general that may affect the validity of the operator’s tests, contact the agency inspector
- Responsibilities of Agency Inspectors:
- a. Must hold a valid agency inspector permit issued by FDLE
- b. Must conduct the required monthly inspections of all breath testing equipment registered to the PCSO
- c. Must maintain and, if necessary for repair, send the equipment to an authorized repair facility or the factory
- d. Provide expert testimony of breath testing for court purposes
- e. Periodically review BTO work product to ensure compliance with FDLE rules and regulations
- f. Maintain, clean and stock the CBT Facility
- g. Act as liaison between FDLE and the PCSO
- h. Act as Custodian of all breath testing records for court purposes
- i. Remain available for breath testing problems or questions and function as a BTO, if other operators are unavailable
- Central Breath Testing (CBT) Facility
- a. The CBT Facility is a secure facility; firearms shall be secured in the vehicle before entering. A certified law enforcement officer and a certified BTO, if applicable, shall be in the facility whenever there is a subject waiting or being tested.
- b. Access into and out of the CBT Facility can only be done with an authorized access key card or by the certified BTO on duty. If entering from the jail, access is by an on-duty certified BTO or BTO certified law enforcement deputy only.
- c. In the event of an emergency, the CBT Facility is equipped with duress alarms, which are utilized to summon assistance from the Department of Detention and Corrections (DOC). If assistance is required from the detention staff, but it is not an emergency, detention staff shall be contacted by phone.
M. Blood Testing in DUI Cases by PCSO
- Blood testing to determine blood alcohol concentration or the presence of chemical or controlled substances will be required for all traffic crash investigations where death or serious bodily injury has occurred. Reasonable force may be used, if such force is necessary, to require the suspect to submit to the administration of a blood test. The blood test shall be conducted in a reasonable manner.
- a. In such cases where certified fire department paramedics or Sunstar are available, they may also withdraw blood samples for testing, and complete a “Certification of Blood Withdrawal” form, (FDLE / ICP Form 11).
- b. At the hospital, only physicians, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, duly licensed clinical laboratory technicians, or other personnel authorized by a hospital to draw blood, can withdraw blood samples for testing.
- Blood testing may be used in DUI investigations if a breath test is impossible or impractical. The investigating deputy will advise the suspect of “Implied Consent,” if the suspect refuses to submit. The “Refusal Affidavit” (HSMV 72054) will be completed by the investigating deputy.
- a. In such cases where certified paramedics are available, they may also withdraw blood samples for testing. Complete form “FDLE / ICP Form 11, signed by the technician drawing blood. This testing must occur inside an ambulance or other suitable “medical facility.”
- b. At the hospital, only physicians, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, or duly licensed clinical laboratory technicians, or other personnel authorized by a hospital to draw blood, can withdraw blood samples for testing. A “Certification of Blood Withdrawal” form will be completed.
- Two vials of blood will be obtained from the suspect by properly authorized persons and must be collected in the “Gray Top” vials containing non-alcoholic anti-coagulant.
- When the blood samples are obtained, they will be treated as evidence and must have the following information printed on each vial:
- a. Name of the suspect being tested
- b. Date and time of the blood draw
- c. Legible initials of the person drawing the blood
- d. Legible initials and payroll number of the deputy witnessing the blood draw and/ or transporting
the blood samples
- The blood samples will be immediately transported to the Sheriff’s Office Administration Building Evidence Room and placed into an evidence locker.
- The investigating deputy will take appropriate law enforcement action upon receiving the laboratory report and document the same with a supplemental report.
N. Independent Blood Alcohol Testing
- Independent blood alcohol testing by the defendant will only occur after the completion of statutory evidentiary breath / blood requirements.
- The person tested may, at his or her own expense, have a physician, registered nurse, or other personnel authorized by a hospital to draw blood, or duly licensed clinical laboratory director, supervisor, technologist or technician, or other persons of his or her own choosing administer an independent test in addition to the test administered at the direction of the law enforcement officer for the purpose of determining the amount of alcohol in the person’s blood or breath or the presence of chemical substances or controlled substances at the time alleged, as shown by chemical analysis of his or her blood or urine, or by chemical or physical test of his or her breath. The failure or inability to obtain an independent, additional test by a person does not preclude the admissibility in evidence of the test taken at the direction of the law enforcement officer. The law enforcement officer shall not interfere with the person’s opportunity to obtain the independent test and shall provide the person with timely telephone access to secure the test, but the burden is on the person to arrange and secure the test on the person’s own expense.
- Upon request of the person tested, full information concerning the test taken at the direction of the law enforcement officer shall be made available to the person or his or her attorney.
- The deputy will then document the suspect driver’s request, means of access for the processing of the request, time, and name of the individual and/or company completing the blood alcohol test in the offense report.
O. Urine Testing
- When there is an indication a suspect is under the influence of any chemical or controlled substances in combination with or instead of alcohol, a urine sample should be obtained. The arresting deputy will advise the suspect of “Implied Consent,” if the suspect refuses to comply with the request for a urine sample.
- A deputy or detention deputy (of the same gender as the suspect) must be present with the suspect during the collection of the urine sample.
- The urine sample will be treated as evidence and will have the following information printed on the specimen cup:
- a. Name of the suspect being tested
- b. Date and time of the sample collection
- c. Legible initials and payroll number of collecting and/or transporting deputy or detention deputy
- The urine sample will be immediately transported by the arresting deputy to the Sheriff’s Office Administration Building Evidence Room and placed into an evidence locker.
- The arresting deputy will take appropriate law enforcement action upon receiving the laboratory test results and document the same in a supplement report.
- If the suspect refused to submit to the urine test, the “Refusal Affidavit” (HSMV 72054) will be completed by the arresting deputy.
- Urine samples should not be submitted for alcohol analysis, as there is no correlation between urine alcohol concentration and blood alcohol concentration.
P. Breath Testing for Other Law Enforcement Agencies
- The individual agency will initiate the request for the BTO through the Communication Division supervisor’s desk.
- The Communications Division will then activate a BTO to respond.
- The BTO will respond to the CBT Facility to administer the breath test.
- The BTO will then complete an Assist Other Agency information report. The report will include:
a. The officer, agency name, and report number
b. The suspect’s name and information
c. Observations of the suspect; e.g., the odor of alcoholic beverage, bloodshot/watery eyes, slurred speech, mannerisms, etc.
d. A Breath Alcohol Test Affidavit showing the breath test results or the refusal.
Attorney for Arrests by PCSO – Read more about how to defend your rights after an arrest by an officer with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office for a felony, misdemeanor, or DUI offense. Find out more about PCSO’s jurisdiction, the history of the agency, and the currency number of employees and sworn officers. Find a list of officers given awards by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) at the Florida Law Enforcement Recognition Ceremony And Training Symposium and Award Ceremony each year.
This article was last updated on Monday, June 13, 2022.